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PH budget gap swings to P2.6-B deficit in August due to higher gov’t spending

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 03:59 PM September 24, 2018

Faster spending on public goods and services led to a P2.6-billion budget deficit in August, a reversal of the P28.8-billion surplus posted a year ago.

The latest Bureau of Treasury data released Monday showed that expenditures last month jumped 29 percent year-on-year to P259.5 billion.

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The disbursements last August exceeded the P256.9 billion in tax and non-tax revenues collected by the government that month, which were 11-percent higher year-on-year.

“Productive” government spending or the amount spent on infrastructure and other capital outlays, payments for personnel services and maintenance expenditures, as well as subsidies and equity infusions, net of interest payments, rose by a faster 32 percent year-on-year to P231.2 billion in August.

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Interest payments for borrowings, meanwhile, increased 7 percent year-on-year to P28.3 billion.

From January to August, the government spent a total of P2.191 trillion, up 23 percent from P1.778 trillion in the same eight-month period last year.

Expenditures net of interest payments increased 26 percent to P1.953 trillion, accounting for 89 percent of total spending year-to-date, the Treasury said in a statement.

“Thus far, 65 percent of the P3.37-trillion full-year program has been disbursed as of end-August,” the Treasury noted.

The disbursements as of August exceeded the eight-month revenue take of P1.909 trillion, which grew by a slower 19 percent from P1.601 trillion a year ago.

As such, the government posted a P282-billion budget deficit as of end-August, 60-percent bigger than the P176.2-billion eight-month deficit last year.

The Treasury said 67 percent of the P2.846-trillion revenue program for 2018 was already collected during the first eight months, given improved performance of the two largest tax-collection agencies.

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The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s tax take, net of tax refunds, in August grew 8 percent year-on-year to P185.1 billion, bringing its eight-month collections to P1.314 trillion, up 13 percent from a year ago.

The Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) collections of imports duties and other taxes, net of tax refunds, last August climbed 36 percent year-on-year to P52 billion, such that its end-August haul of P383.5 billion was 35-percent larger than last year.

“The [BOC] attributes its consistent double digit growth for the year to the higher exchange rate, increased oil prices, proper valuation, strong enforcement and revenue-enhancing measures,” the Treasury said.

For 2018, the government had programmed a P523.7-billion budget deficit, equivalent to 3 percent of the gross domestic product.  /kga

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