Gov’t posted P2.2-B budget surplus in January
Double-digit jumps in the collections of the two biggest tax agencies alongside steady growth in government spending brought the state’s budget position to a surplus of P2.2 billion in January.
The latest Bureau of the Treasury data showed that the surplus reversed the P3.5-billion deficit posted during the same month last year. Total revenue in January hit P200.3 billion, exceeding the P198.1-billion expenditures at the start of the year.
“This marks the first time that the government achieved positive fiscal balance for the month since 2010. This reflects improved revenue collection efforts and prudent spending,” the Treasury said in a statement.
Combined tax and nontax revenue last January rose by 10 percent from P182.2 billion last year, boosted by strong growth in the tax takes of the Bureaus of Customs (BOC) and Internal Revenue (BIR).
In January, the BOC’s collections of import duties and other taxes climbed 16 percent to P35.9 billion from P31.1 billion a year ago.
“The BOC had implemented sweeping reforms to improve its collections for this year,” the Treasury said.
The BIR’s tax take increased by 14 percent to P147.4 billion from P129.7 billion last year. The Treasury attributed the growth in BIR collections to “higher taxpayer compliance and other reforms undertaken by the bureau such as expansion of its large taxpayers service.”
In January 2016, the collections of the BOC and BIR grew by only 6 percent and 7 percent year-on-year, respectively.
In the meantime, the amount spent by the government on public goods and services last January grew by 7 percent from P185.7 billion a year ago, recording the same pace of growth as last year.
The Duterte administration had programmed the budget deficit cap at 3 percent of the gross domestic product until 2022 as the government wanted to ramp up spending, especially on infrastructure.
For 2017, the government had programmed the deficit to reach P478.1 billion.
Last year, the government missed its revenue and spending targets, resulting in a full-year budget deficit of P353.4 billion. This was equivalent to 2.4 percent of GDP, below the revised target of 2.7 percent.
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