The budget deficit fell below the ceiling set for the first semester, as the government failed to spend as much as it should during the period.
The Department of Finance reported Thursday that the budget gap in the first six months amounted to P51.29 billion, nearly 40 percent below the cap of P84.66 billion set for the period.
But the deficit was still 49 percent higher than the P34.38 billion recorded in the same period last year.
“Our commitment to fiscal sustainability still stands,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said in a statement.
The deficit in the first six months of the year came about as government revenues amounted to P839.46 billion, while expenditures reached P890.75 billion.
In June alone, the budget deficit reached P8.45 billion—27 percent lower than the P11.63 billion reported in the same month last year.
Revenues for the month amounted to P131.09 billion, while expenditures reached P139.54 billion.
The Finance department noted that, even though revenue agencies failed to meet their collection targets, the budget deficit was still lower than expected.
This was because the shortfall in expenditures was bigger than the revenues collected.
Expenditures during the six-month period were P54.9 billion short of the target, while revenue collectors missed their goal by P21.58 billion.
Government agencies have been told to streamline their procedures so that expenditures for vital public works may proceed without a hitch, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.
Although expenditures fell short of the target, the amount was still much higher than that of last year, Abad stressed.
He described the rise in public spending to be a key economic growth strategy of the government.
Expenditures in the first six months of the year rose by 12 percent from the P795.30 billion posted in the same period last year.
The growth in expenditure was partly driven by infrastructure.
As earlier reported, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs—the two biggest revenue earners for the government—failed to hit their respective collection targets during the period.
But officials added that the government’s revenue still grew on a year-on-year basis.
They explained that the shortfalls in collection came about because the targets were set too high.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue, which accounted for about 70 percent of the government’s total revenue, collected P593.71 billion. This was 4 percent short of the P620.28-billion target. But the figure was 13.9 percent higher than the P521.16 billion reported in the same period last year.
The Bureau of Customs, which accounted for 17 percent of total revenue, collected P145.13 billion. This was 11 percent short of the P163.85 billion target. Still, it was 1.2 percent higher than the P143.42 billion collected last year.