Budget gap widens, exceeds ceiling
The government breached its budget deficit ceiling in 2018 as it spent beyond the amount programmed for public goods and services.
Data obtained by reporters on Thursday showed that the budget deficit last year widened to P558.3 billion, bigger than the P526.8-billion adjusted program set by the Cabinet-level, interagency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) in October last year.
The programmed budget deficit cap for 2018 was equivalent to 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Last year’s budget deficit was also larger than the P350.6 billion posted in 2017.
Data showed that expenditures reached P3.41 trillion, exceeding the P3.35 trillion that the government was supposed to spend last year.
Meanwhile, the tax and nontax revenues collected by the government in 2018 totaled P2.85 trillion, surpassing the P2.82-trillion program.
To recall, the DBCC downgraded the revenue target for 2018 from P2.85 trillion as the government was unable to implement the fuel marking and the e-receipts programs last year.
The disbursement program was also reduced from P3.37 trillion previously.
The earlier budget deficit program for 2018 was P523.7 billion.
For 2019, the government had programmed a wider budget deficit equivalent to 3.2 percent of GDP or P624.4 billion “in order to fund key priorities of the government, particularly infrastructure and investments in human capital development,” the DBCC had said.
The budget deficit cap will be brought back to 3 percent of GDP from 2020 to 2022.
“The expansionary fiscal policy of the Duterte administration is anchored on the need to invest heavily in public infrastructure and human capital development. This will unleash the potential of the Philippine economy and put it on a path of sustained growth,” Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said last month.
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.