MANILA, Philippines?The national government is expected to record a budget deficit for the first half of the year below P41 billion, on account of better-than-target revenue collections, the Department of Finance said Thursday.
The department took note of reports that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BoC)?the two biggest revenue earners among line agencies?likely hit or surpassed their goals for the first half.
Citing preliminary data, the BoC earlier said it collected P24.98 billion in import taxes and duties in June. This brought its total collection in the first six months to P117.08 billion, surpassing its first-half goal of P115.87 billion.
The BIR is also expected to have met or surpassed its target of P379 billion for the first half. Official numbers will be announced in the second or third week of this month.
?Given these positive developments, the deficit could be lower than P41 billion, which was the original ceiling the government was looking at,? Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said Thursday.
Under the original fiscal program for 2008, the government aimed to limit its deficit to P41 billion in the first half and achieve a balanced budget for the year with revenues and expenditures both at P1.236 trillion.
But, deciding to give additional subsidies and other social services for the poor this year, it abandoned the balanced-budget objective and set a maximum-deficit target of P75 billion.
Beltran said the revised target for this year was influenced largely by a P96.3-billion increase in the expenditure program, to P1.3296 trillion from P1.236 trillion.
The revised target also reflects a slightly higher revenue collection goal, to at least P1.255 trillion, from than the previous target of P1.236 trillion.
The finance department said the P18.6 billion or more in additional revenue would be a result of rising prices of oil, which is subject to import duty and value-added tax.
Of the total revenue target for the year, the BIR is expected to contribute P844.9 billion and the BoC, P254 billion. The remainder should come from other government agencies and privatization proceeds. Edited by INQUIRER.net