Gov’t continues to underspend as of April
The government continued to underspend during the first four months of the year, resulting in a below-program budget deficit of P115.9 billion as of April.
In a text message to reporters Wednesday, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that the end-April deficit was P51.2-billion lower than the P167.1-billion program, but P85.7-billion higher than the P30.2-billion deficit in the first four months of last year.
From January to April, expenditures jumped 31 percent to P1.043 trillion from P798.4 billion a year ago, while tax and non-tax revenues climbed 21 percent to P927.3 billion from a year ago’s P768.3 billion.
Dominguez said that the end-April revenues were 7-percent higher than target, the figure of which he did not disclose.
The Finance chief earlier attributed the above-target performance of the bureaus of Internal Revenue and of Customs, the country’s two biggest revenue agencies, to the gains from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act.
Republic Act No. 10963, or the TRAIN Law, since Jan. 1 of this year has jacked up or slapped new excise taxes on cigarettes, oil, sugary drinks and vehicles, among other goods, to compensate for the restructured personal income tax regime that raised the tax-exempt cap to an annual salary of P250,000.
Dominguez also did not say the disbursements target for the four-month period.
But based on calculations, the programmed revenue haul for the first four months was P905.9 billion, while expenditures should have reached P1.073 trillion.
As such, the government was unable to spend all of the amount allocated for public goods and services during the January to April period.
Economic managers had said that there will no longer be underspending during the Duterte administration, even as they narrowed it to 3 percent of programmed government spending last year from double-digit figures in previous years.
In April alone, the government posted a budget surplus of P46.3 billion, National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon said.
The government historically posts a fiscal surplus during the month of April as revenues outpace disbursements following the income tax filing deadline.
Last month’s surplus, however, was lower than the P52.8 billion posted in April last year as well as below the P52-billion program.
For Dominguez, “we’re having a good start in the first trimester of the year but are ever vigilant of developments in the oil and capital markets abroad that may negatively affect the Philippine economy.”
The government had programmed a P523.7-billion budget deficit for 2018, with expenditures expected to reach P3.37 trillion while generating total revenues of P2.846 trillion. /je
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