PH posts P52.8-B surplus in April 2017 as spending, revenues decline
Government spending as well as revenue collections declined in April, resulting in a narrower budget surplus of P52.8 billion, according to the latest Bureau of the Treasury data, which was released Friday.
“April has historically generated a surplus for the government as the deadline for the filing of income taxes falls within the month,” the Treasury noted in a statement.
Last month’s surplus was nonetheless lower than the P55 billion posted a year ago.
Last April, government expenditures declined 4 percent to P183.1 billion from P191.6 billion during the same month last year.
“Interest payments, which account for around 7 percent of total expenditures, declined by 9 percent to P13.5 billion from P14.8 billion as payments falling due at end-April were moved to May due to official holidays,” the Treasury explained.
But spending on most other public goods and services also decreased by 4 percent to P169.6 billion last month from P176.8 billion a year ago.
Government spending early last year was faster ahead of the presidential elections in May 2016.
Slower government expenditures were among the factors that eased first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 6.4 percent compared with 6.8 percent a year ago as well as the 6.6 percent a quarter ago.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia had blamed “base effects” for the lower-than-expected first-quarter growth, pointing out that “growth last year was high due to election spending, as you would already know by now, the impact of which has already dissipated.”
The increase in government spending on public goods and services slowed to a mere 0.2 percent year-on-year during the first quarter compared with the 11.8-percent jump a year ago, government data showed.
On the revenue side, total revenue collections last April declined 4 percent to P235.9 billion from P246.6 billion a year ago, mainly as non-tax revenues dropped 54 percent year-on-year to P16 billion.
“Non-tax revenues were weighed down by the lower income of the Treasury in April. The P7.1-billion income during the period is P20.8 billion or 75-percent lower relative to the April 2016 level, mainly on the timing of dividends on shares of stocks held by the government. Most GOCCs [government-owned and/or -controlled corporations] remitted dividends in April last year whereas 2017 collections are just coming in,” the Treasury said.
On the other hand, tax revenues grew 4 percent to P219.9 billion last month from P211.8 billion during the same month last year.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s tax take rose 6 percent year-on-year to P187.7 billion, while the import duties and other taxes collected by the Bureau of Customs declined 5 percent year-on-year to P31.1 billion.
At the end of the first four months, the fiscal balance remained at a deficit of P30.2 billion, although 47-percent lower than the P57.5 billion recorded during the same four-month period last year.
End-of-April expenditures increased 2 percent to P798.4 billion from P783.1 billion a year ago, while revenues grew 6 percent to P768.3 billion from a year ago’s P725.6 billion.
The Duterte administration targets annual budget deficits of a wider 3 percent in the next six years compared with the 2-percent yearly program of the previous administration.
The programmed deficit was widened to ramp up government spending on infrastructure under President Rodrigo Duterte’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda aimed at slashing the poverty incidence to 14 percent by 2022 from 21.6 percent in 2015. /atm
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.