Budget gap swells to P1.07T | Inquirer Business
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Budget gap swells to P1.07T

Gov’t spending up 11.6%, revenues down by 9.6% in 11 months to November
By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 04:08 AM December 24, 2020

The budget deficit ballooned to a record P1.07 trillion as of end-November as government spending to fight COVID-19 inched up while revenues remained lower year-on-year amid a pande­mic-induced recession.

The Bureau of the Treasury’s latest cash operations report released on Wednesday showed that the national government spent P3.69 trillion from January to November, up 11.6 percent from P3.3 trillion a year ago.

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In a statement, the Treasury attributed the year-on-year increase in end-November disbursements to “various COVID-19 financial assistance and recovery measures.”

However, cumulative spending still fell short of the revised program for the period owing to the delayed implementation of some measures under the Bayanihan 2 Law, the Treasury said.

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Releases of funds set aside under the three-month Bayanihan to Recover as One Law had been slow such that Congress moved to extend the validity of about P39 billion in still unreleased and unspent items out of the P165.5-billion stimulus measure, which expired on Dec. 19.

On the other hand, 11-month tax and nontax revenues fell 9.6 percent to P2.62 trillion from P2.89 trillion during the same period last year even as the year-to-date collections surpassed the downscaled full-year target of P2.52 trillion.

This caused the national government’s end-November budget deficit to swell by 161.3 percent from a year ago’s P409.1 billion.

During the month of November alone, the budget deficit of P128.3 billion widened by 110.7 percent from P60.9 billion last year.

Expenditures in November inched up by 2.3 percent to P374.1 billion from P365.6 billion a year ago mainly due to subsidies released to the state-run Land Bank of the Philippines’ unconditional cash transfer program as well as Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s insurance program.

It was also last month when some government financial institutions were injected with additional equity for their Bayanihan 2-related assistance and lending programs to businesses badly hit by the pandemic.

November revenues, meanwhile, slid by a faster 19.4 percent to P245.8 billion from P304.7 billion last year even as the downscaled targets of the country’s two biggest tax-collection agencies allowed the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to already exceed its full-year goal of P1.69 trillion during the month with end-November collections of P1.79 trillion.

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The Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) end-November take from import duties and other taxes amounting to P492.3 billion was 97 percent of its 2020 target.

The BIR and the BOC’s collections in November, however, were down 17.4 percent and 13.3 percent year-on-year, respectively. Their respective end-November tax take also declined 11.2 percent and 14.8 percent year-on-year.

Early this month, the Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee’s (DBCC) updated outlook projected a budget deficit of P1.38 trillion by year-end, equivalent to 7.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), or narrower than the program of P1.82 trillion of 9.6 percent of GDP.

The DBCC expected a slightly higher revenue collection of P2.85 trillion by end-2020 compared with the P2.52-trillion program even as full-year spending would be a lower P4.23 trillion than the programmed P4.34 trillion.

The actual end-November budget deficit was only less than three-fifths of the full-year program, the Treasury noted. INQ

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