BTr: Gov’t borrowed less, settled more debt in 1st quarterBy Ronnel W. Domingo |Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The government’s financing position in the first quarter showed a net payment of P797 million, a reversal from the P162.6-billion net borrowing recorded in the same period last year, according to the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr).
This was observed as repayment for foreign borrowings ballooned by more than three times year-on-year from P16.2 billion to P52.5 billion.
In total, government financing showed a net outflow resulting from about P127 billion in payments to lenders and about P126.2 billion in new obligations.
The biggest contributor to new debt in the three months to March was the issuance of domestic securities. Net of redemption, BTr chalked up P108.2 billion in treasury bonds and P14.8 billion in treasury bills.
All foreign inflows for the quarter came as official development assistance (ODA) loans. This reflects the government’s decision of not going to the international commercial debt market early in the year like it used to do.
National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said last month that the government is foregoing foreign borrowings this year except for ODA, concerning which there are standing commitments between the Philippines and aid agencies.
Even then, BTr data show that first-quarter ODA inflows fell by 81 percent to P3.2 billion, consisting of P497 million in project loans and P2.7 billion in program loans.
Last year’s comparative figures show P17 billion, covering P13.5 billion worth of project loans and P3.5 billion of program loans.
Payments made in the first quarter include P52.5 billion for foreign loans and P74.5 billion for domestic debt.
The sum was 22 percent less than the P162.8 billion paid out in the same month last year, which covered P16.2 billion for overseas obligations and P146.5 billion for local loans.
Treasury officials last week reported that the government’s budget deficit for January to March jumped 96 percent year-on-year to P66.5 billion as expenditures leaped by 9 percent while revenue growth was flat.
The first-quarter deficit almost doubled the P33.9 billion that was posted in the same period of 2012.