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Budget gap shrank to P138.5B in Sept


Budget gap shrank to P138.5B in Sept

The government’s fiscal deficit slimmed to P138.5 billion in September as revenues and spending both declined by double digits in the month, data from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) showed on Friday.

The shortfall was smaller than the P178.6-billion deficit a year earlier, but higher than the P40.1-billion gap in August.

“The budget gap narrowed as the 10.19-percent year-over-year decline in revenue collections was matched by a 15.45-percent dip in public spending,” the Treasury bureau said in a statement.

Revenues slid to P212.4 billion in the ninth month from P236.5 billion year-on-year while expenditures dropped to P350.9 billion from P415.1 billion a year earlier.

In August, revenues decreased by 13.05 percent and spending expanded by 0.38 percent.

The September shortfall brought the year-to-date deficit to P879.2 billion, wider than the P299 billion in the first nine months of 2019. It is, however, 32.30-percent lower than the government’s revised program of a P1.298-trillion fiscal gap for the period.

In September alone, the Bureau of Internal Revenue contributed the bulk of revenues with P140.6 billion, a 6.56-percent reduction from P150.5 billion a year ago and a 25.17-percent slide from the August amount.

The Bureau of Customs contributed P50.8 billion, a 13.69-percent slip from P58.8 billion in September 2019.

Other offices posted P1.7 billion in tax revenues last month. As a result, total tax revenues fell by 8.51 percent to P193 billion, better than August’s 13.05-percent decrease.

Nontax earnings settled at P19.4 billion, with the Treasury contributing P8.6 billion, shrinking by 19.35 percent year-on-year. The bureau traced this to the 87.40-percent contraction in the national government’s share from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s income and the timing of remittance of interest on advances from government-owned and -controlled corporations offsetting the higher dividend collection from the national government’s shares of stocks.

Revenues from other offices hit P10.8 billion, 27.57 percent lower than the year-earlier’s P14.9 billion, “due to the impact of the pandemic,” the Treasury said, referring to the coronavirus crisis, which disrupted government and business operations.

The BTr said state spending in September was smaller “due to the timing of subsidy releases and the base effect of higher infrastructure spending in the same month last year.”
The bulk of government spending — P307.6 billion — was for primary expenditures, which dove by 17.32 percent from P372 billion a year earlier.

Interest payments, settling at P43.4 billion, accounted for the rest. The BTr said this figure, up 0.63 percent from the September 2019 amount, came as favorable foreign exchange rates for foreign interest payments “offset the marginal increase in domestic payments for reissued bonds.”

Netting out interest payments, the primary balance reached a budget shortfall of P95.2 billion in September, bringing the nine-month tally to a P566.2-billion deficit.

This year’s budget shortfall is seen to reach P1.81 trillion, or 9.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to latest estimates from the interagency Development Budget Coordination Committee.


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