MANILA (REUTERS) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte plans to hike state spending 12.4 per cent next year to a record 3.77 trillion pesos (S$102 billion), his spokesman said on Tuesday, in line with his aim to spend heavily on infrastructure to keep growth robust.
Duterte, who has been in office one year, has vowed to usher in the "golden age of infrastructure" and spread wealth more evenly in the country of more than 100 million people.
The anticipated 2018 budget compares with this year's 3.35 trillion peso spending plan and would be equivalent to 21.6 per cent of gross domestic product, spokesman Ernesto Abella told a briefing.
Abella did not state a revenue target for 2018. The government has said it plans to keep the country's budget deficit at 3 per cent of GDP in the medium-term.
The government has programmed a US$180 billion (S$249 billion) spending spree on infrastructure during the president's six-year term to create jobs, lift economic growth to as high as 8 per cent, and attract foreign investors turned off by high power prices and transport bottlenecks.
To fund the ambitious programme, the government has asked Congress to approve a tax reform bill, which would raise excise taxes on fuel and automobiles, among others.
The Philippine economy grew an annual 6.4 per cent in the first quarter, among the fastest in the region on strong domestic consumption and exports.