2023 deficit ceiling breached

MANILA, Philippines  The government’s budget deficit hit P1.512 trillion in 2023, 6.32 percent smaller than the shortfall recorded in 2022 but overshot the target of P1.499 trillion, according to data released on Thursday by the Bureau of the Treasury.

This meant that last year’s fiscal gap, as a share of the country’s gross domestic product, stood at 6.2 percent, significantly narrower than the 7.3-percent ratio in 2022, but slightly above the Marcos administration’s deficit cap of 6.1 percent for 2023.

Fiscal consolidation

Explaining the latest outturn, the Treasury said the smaller year-on-year deficit demonstrates “progress of fiscal consolidation.”

Data broken down showed state spending amounted to P5.34 trillion in 2023, up 3.42 percent compared with the previous year and breaching the expenditures target of P5.23 trillion by 2.06 percent.

Meanwhile, revenues jumped by 7.86 percent to P3.82 trillion, shattering the government’s collection goal of P3.73 trillion by 2.55 percent.

Finance Secretary Ralph Recto earlier said the Marcos administration planned to borrow a total of P2.46 trillion from creditors at home and abroad this year to plug a projected budget deficit of P1.4 trillion. —Ian Nicolas P. Cigaral