Budget deficit nearly triples to P879.2B
The budget deficit nearly tripled to P879.2 billion as of end-September even as the delayed disbursement of additional stimulus under the Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2) Act led to underspending during the first nine months.
The Bureau of the Treasury’s latest cash operations report released Friday showed that the national government’s January-to-September cumulative fiscal deficit was 194.1-percent bigger than the P299 billion recorded a year ago.
However, the actual deficit was 32.3-percent smaller compared to the P1.29-trillion program for the nine-month period.
For the entire year, the Development Budget Coordination Committee had programmed a record budget deficit of P1.82 trillion, equivalent to 9.6 percent of gross domestic product, as the government needed to spend more to fight COVID-19 despite weaker revenues amid a pandemic-induced recession.
Expenditures on public goods and services as of September amounted to P3.02 trillion, up 15.1 percent from P2.63 trillion a year ago, but 7.5-percent below the P3.27-trillion spending goal.
The Treasury attributed the year-on-year increase in end-September disbursements to COVID-19-related disbursements, while at the same time blaming the below-target spending to the “lag” in implementation of the Bayanihan 2 Law.
Bayanihan 2 under Republic Act No. 11494 took some time to pass in Congress and was signed by President Duterte only last Sept. 11, even as the earlier Bayanihan to Heal as One Act implemented at the height of the longest and most stringent COVID-19 lockdown in the region lapsed last June.
As of early this week, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P4.4 billion out of the P140 billion in funds for the second stimulus package to address the health and socioeconomic crises inflicted by COVID-19.
Still pending approval by the Office of the President were P46.2 billion in funds, the DBM had said. On top of the regular appropriations, Bayanihan 2 also set aside P25.5 billion in contingency funds, bringing the total funding to a larger P165.5 billion.
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