PH budget surplus at record high in AprilBy Ronnel W. Domingo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The government posted a record budget surplus of P31.02 billion in April as both revenues and expenses registered double-digit growth year on year, according to the Bureau of the Treasury.
April’s figure brought the deficit for the first four months of the year to P2.88 billion. This is less than 3 percent of the 109.34 billion the government intends to spend on top of the national budget in the first semester.
The four-month deficit was a reversal from P62-million surplus reported in the same period of 2011.
From January to April, expenses reached P517.13 billion, accounting for 58 percent of the program for the first half of the year. The expenses during the period were also 12.1 percent higher year on year.
Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad on Monday admitted that spending, especially on priority programs and projects, needs to grow at a much faster pace.
“We in DBM will work closely with key departments in the remainder of the second quarter to troubleshoot implementation bottlenecks, address capacity constraints, and accelerate disbursements,” Abad said in a statement.
Even then, the budget chief pointed out that disbursements would continue to grow and “reverse the contraction of disbursements last year.”
Also, four-month revenues reached a total of P514.24 billion, which were 66 percent of the goal for the first semester. They were also 11.4 percent higher than those of last year.
In April alone, expenditures reached P222.24 billion—91 percent higher than the P112.08 billion spent in the same month last year.
Revenues reached P153.27 billion, an increase of 10.8 percent from P138.34 billion.
The April revenue performance proves that there is still room “for tax collections to grow considerably through process re-engineering and efficient tax administration marked by a sustained campaign against smuggling and tax evasion,” Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said in a separate statement.
“Moving forward, the Aquino administration will continue to plug loopholes in the Philippine tax system, one of which has seen progress after 15 years of continued delay,” Purisima added, referring to excise tax reforms.
From January to April, the Bureau of Internal Revenue contributed P345.06 billion to the national coffers. It was 64 percent of the collection target set for the first half, but 13.9 percent higher than that of last year.
The Bureau of Customs chipped in P94.9 billion, which was 57 percent of the target set for the first semester but 11.6 percent better than last year’s collection.
The Bureau of the Treasury turned in P41.85 billion, exceeding its own first-half target, but 5.7 percent less than that of a year ago.
Other government offices yielded P32.43 billion, which was 78 percent of the first-half goal, and 11.7 percent better year on year.
The government wants to keep the deficit at 2.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2012, trimming it to 2 percent by 2013, and keeping it at that level until 2016 when President Aquino’s term ends.—With a report from Reuters
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