Gov’t spending as of May still below targetBy Michelle V. Remo |Philippine Daily Inquirer
Government spending in the first five months of the year jumped by a double-digit pace from that of the same period last year.
The Department of Finance reported Thursday that government expenditures amounted to P751.21 billion from January to May—up by 12.4 percent from the P668.39 billion reported in the same period last year.
However, spending in the first five months was still significantly lower than the official target set for the first semester. Under its fiscal program, the government should spend P945.7 billion throughout the first semester. This means that, if the government were to follow its own spending program for the first half of the year, it would need to dispose of P194.5 billion in June alone.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in a statement that the government intends to ramp up spending in the months ahead in order to stick to its full-year expenditure goal and provide the necessary boost to the economy.
“We’re looking at accelerating disbursements further and, more crucially, ensuring high-impact spending that will translate to direct, immediate, and sustainable benefits to Filipinos,” Abad said.
Also, the DOF reported that total government revenues collected in the first five months reached P708.37 billion—9.7 percent higher than the P645.64 billion collected in the same period last year.
Despite the significant rise in collections, the government may not attain its official revenue target for the first semester.
The government set a goal of collecting P861.04 billion in the first half of this year. This means that line agencies, led by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs, would need to collect P152.67 billion in June alone to meet the government target.
Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares said the tax bureau would continue going after tax evaders and step up tax audits to boost collection.