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OMB’s Pavía: Government keeping expenses under control

Office of Management and Budget Executive Director Juan C. Pavía (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Public expenses have been kept under projections during the first nine months of the current fiscal year, the fourth consecutive year the administration has managed its finances according to what was budgeted, a government official said Monday.

During a meeting with reporters, Office of Management and Budget Executive Director Juan C. Pavía said with just one quarter remaining in this fiscal year that ends June 30, the government has spent 69 percent of the budget for the 12-month period.

For the period between July 1, 2011 and March 30, 2012, the level of General Fund expenditures amounted to $6.19 billion, approximately $41 million under budget, he said, while disclosing details of the administration’s Quarterly Budget Review.

Pavía attributed the difference to the fact that expenses incurred during the fiscal year are not necessarily proportionate in each quarter. So, just because expenditures as of Mar. 30 were $41 million under budget it does not necessarily mean that the government will end the fiscal fear with that amount in savings.

“What it does mean is that the administration has managed to maintain an effective control of its quarterly budget so that by the end of the fourth quarter the government will not have spent more than what was budgeted for the year,” said Pavía, noting that historical data shows that between 2000 and 2008 expenses for the year regularly exceeded the budget, resulting in ever higher accumulated deficits.

“That’s the great value of this QBR, a budget management tool that we implemented this year so that citizens may know in real time how we are investing their money throughout the year, responsibly and according to budget…unlike previous administrations when at the end of every fiscal year, we all got the unpleasant news that the administration had again overspent the budget,” said Pavía.

This is the third QBR the agency has published since investing in a computerized system that connected the OMB, the Treasury Department and all government agencies to monitor their expenditures on a daily basis.

For the third quarter ending Mar. 30, General Fund expenditures amounted to $2.38 billion, $51.6 million or 2 percent, under budget, the agency said.

“Budgetary balance is achieved when the level of revenues and the level of expenditures are both in line with the budget. It’s of little use to monitor revenues if you don’t monitor expenditures effectively at the same time,” he said. “That’s what we’re doing with this new budget management tool. It allows us to implement strict expense control measures, as needed, throughout the year.”

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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