Budget surplus posted after 8-month deficit streak
MANILA – The Philippine national government posted a P45.7-billion budget surplus in January, taking a respite from eight straight months of incurring monthly deficits.
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said in a statement the January readout was a reversal from the P23.4-billion deficit recorded in the same month last year.
The last time that the national government recorded a monthly surplus was in April 2022 with P4.94 billion.
After that, the budget deficit ran at as low as P72 billion in August and as high as P378.4 billion in December.
In terms of cash operations, the government ended 2022 with a full-year budget deficit of P1.62 trillion.
However, the 2022 print was 2 percent or P36 billion less than the budget deficit program of P1.65 trillion.
“This favorable outcome was a result of revenues outgrowing government spending,” Diokno said.
Data at the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) show that revenues for the month grew by 25 percent to P348.2 billion from P278.1 billion.
At the same time, spending barely increased by 0.3 percent to P302.4 billion from P301.5 billion.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) contributed P234.8 billion, which was one-fifth better than the P195.8 billion collected in January last year.
According to the BTr, the higher outturn can be partly attributed to the revenue collection reforms that the BIR undertook, including its digitalization programs.
Also, the Bureau of Customs chipped in P70.6 billion, an increase of 21 percent from P58.3 billion thanks to its “stringent collection efforts.”
The BTr had P17.8 billion in January, which was three-fifths more than the P6.6 billion it earned a year earlier.
—RONNEL W. DOMINGO