Budget gap widens to P106B in 9 months

Gov’t spending remains lower than planned

By: Ronnel W. Domingo, October 25th, 2012 01:14 AM

A laborer works on a road project in Makati City in this file photo. The government deficit for the first nine months of 2012 was registered at P106.1 billion, or just 58 percent of the P183.3 billion that the government intended to spend during the period. AFP PHOTO/JAY DIRECTO

The national government’s budget position went back to a deficit of P34.8 billion in September as revenues barely increased while expenses showed a double-digit jump.

Documents from the Bureau of the Treasury showed that the deficit in September brought the shortfall for the first nine months of the year to P106.1 billion, which was just 58 percent of the P183.3 billion that the government intended to spend beyond what it had for the period.

However, the nine-month deficit was twice the P53 billion that was recorded in the same period of 2011.

January-September spending reached P1.22 trillion, 9.5 percent short of the program for the first three quarters but 14.5 percent higher year on year.

Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad on Wednesday said that while spending was still lower than planned, the shortfall was “significantly narrower” than the 16.1 percent recorded in the same period last year.

“With the higher expenditure growth due to improving absorptive capacities of departments and agencies, we are again confident that government spending will contribute significantly to economic growth in the third quarter,” Abad said.

Even then, he said there was much room for improvement in the capacity of agencies to implement programs and projects and to disburse released funds.

Nine-month revenues reached P1.12 trillion, which was 95.6 percent of the goal for the period but 10 percent higher than year-ago actual take.

In September alone, expenditures reached P140.2 billion, 14.1 percent higher than the P122.8 billion spent in the same month last year. Revenues reached P105.3 billion, an increase of 0.9 percent from P104.3 billion a year ago.

Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said both major revenue agencies—the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs—have consistently exceeded the previous year’s collections.

“Our aggressive efforts to improve tax compliance have consistently generated fiscal space to provide funding for the Aquino administration’s spending priorities,” Purisima said.

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