Gov’t budget deficit rose in March as tax revenues fell
MANILA -The national government spent P210 billion more than it earned in March, incurring a budget deficit that is 12 percent wider than the P188 billion posted in the same month last year.
The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said the deficit increased despite a 2.6-percent decrease in spending, because revenues fell by 12 percent.
On the other hand, the March readout brought the national government’s first-quarter cash operations to a deficit of P271 billion, narrowing by 14.5 percent from P317 billion in the comparable three months of 2022.
The first-quarter deficit narrowed as revenues increased by 4.4 percent while spending decreased by one percent.
From January to March, revenues reached P819 billion from P784 billion previously.
Also, expenditures were pegged at P1.089 trillion, down from P1.101 trillion.
In March alone, revenues slid to P259 billion from P294 trillion in the same month last year.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue turned in P141 billion, falling by 17 percent from P170 billion.
“The slower outturn for the period was due in part to the impact of the transitory provisions of the Bureau’s Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 5-2023 in line with Section 37 of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law,” the BTr said.
This refers to the new rule that value-added tax registered taxpayers are now required to file their VAT returns quarterly instead of monthly.
“On a year-to-date basis, however, BIR’s P505.2 billion collection still topped the previous year’s achievement for the same period by 0.48 percent,” the BTr said.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Customs chipped in P80 billion, surging by 14 percent from P70 billion.
In March, expenses rose to P469 billion from P482 billion. This was largely due to the lower National Tax Allotment shares of local government units, as well as the timing of significant releases for some programs, such as the Department of Transportation’s Public Utility Vehicle Service Contracting Program and Fuel Subsidy Program.
Michael Ricafort, chief economist at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said the budget deficit in March was the widest since December 2022, and nearly twice the P104.4-billion in February. INQ