10-month budget gap hits P348B
The end-October budget deficit of P348.3 billion continued to be narrower as the year-on-year increase in government spending still trailed the growth in revenue collections.
The latest Bureau of the Treasury data released Monday showed that the 10-month fiscal deficit was lower by 20.5 percent compared with the P438.1 billion posted during the same period last year.
In the month of October alone, the P49.3-billion deficit was 17.7-percent below the P59.9 billion a year ago.
During the first 10 months, expenditures on public goods and services rose 5.1 percent year-on-year to P2.94 trillion, while combined tax and nontax revenues climbed by a faster 9.8 percent to P2.59 trillion.
Net of interest payments, end-October disbursements grew 4.9 percent year-on-year to P2.62 trillion.
In October, expenditures increased by only 1.4 percent year-on-year to P310.8 billion while revenues grew 5.9 percent to P261.6 billion.
In a statement, the Treasury attributed the slight increase in October spending to “the base effect of the sizeable P306.6 billion (up 35.2-percent year-on-year) outlays for the same month last year.”
Last month, primary expenditures rose by a faster 2.7 percent year-on-year to P290.1 billion.
Tax revenues in October grew 6.8 percent year-on-year to P237.5 billion.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) tax take jumped 8.1 percent year-on-year to P178.1 billion last month, while the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) collections of import duties and other taxes increased 3 percent to P57.7 billion.
At the end of the first 10 months, the BIR collected a total of P1.78 trillion in taxes, up 10.7 percent year-on-year. The BOC, meanwhile, saw collections increase by 7.6 percent to P527.7 billion as of October.
For 2019, the Cabinet-level, interagency Development Budget Coordination Committee has programmed a wider budget-deficit ceiling of P624.4 billion, equivalent to 3.2 percent of gross domestic product.
The bigger budget deficit this year is aimed at jacking up spending on infrastructure and other public investments.
However, the government underspent P1 billion a day on public goods and services from January to April as it operated using reenacted 2018 appropriations.
President Duterte signed this year’s P3.7-trillion national budget only in mid-April as legislators squabbled over alleged “pork” funds in the budget.
To reverse underspending at the start of the year, the government had been undertaking a spending catch-up program by fast-tracking the implementation of big-ticket infrastructure projects.