Budget deficit remains within target

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The government recorded a P53-billion budget deficit in July, bringing to P105 billion the deficit for the first seven months of the year, the Department of Finance (DOF) said on Monday.

In a statement, the DOF said that the July deficit grew 36 percent year-on-year compared to the P39-billion shortfall for July last year, noting that “government operating expenses paced higher than expected revenue collections.”

“Despite this, the end-July deficit amounting to P105 billion remained broadly in line with the government program of P144 billion for the first three quarters of the year,” it stated.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima pointed out that the increased pace of government expenditures, which amounted to P197.8 billion for July, was an encouraging sign for government operations.


“Our fiscal operations for July show that our expenditures have gained momentum, indicating increased investments in priority infrastructure and social projects,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the agency noted that government revenue collections reached P145 billion in July, increasing 17 percent year-on-year.

It added that January to July revenues amounted to P984 billion, an 11-percent increase over comparable 2012 figures.

Tax revenues accounted for 93.1 percent of the total, registering P875.5 billion for the first seven months of 2013.

For July alone, the DOF said that Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collections increased 20 percent year-on-year to reach P100 billion, while collections from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) hit P28 billion, a 13-percent increase over July 2012 figures.

The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) and other government offices contributed P7.9 billion and P8.9 billion, reflecting 3-percent and 15-percent year-on-year growth in collections, respectively.

On the other hand, the finance department added that year-to-date revenue collections have risen, with BIR, BOC and other agencies growing collections by 15 percent, 3 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

However, the DOF said that the Treasury income for the period of January to July slipped 1 percent compared to last year, because of lower interest rates on BTr deposits with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

“With both revenues and expenditures posting double-digit increases, this marks that the Philippine government is stepping up its efforts to support our growing economy,” Purisima said.

Furthermore, the DOF said that for July alone, revenues totaled P144.6 billion against expenditures of P197.8 billion.

“From January to July, aggregate revenues summed up to P984 billion, financing P1,088 billion [P1 trillion] in expenditures,” it said.

Netting out interest payments, the government was able to achieve a primary surplus amounting to P290 million as of July despite higher disbursements, bringing the year-to-date surplus to P106.1 billion, it added.

Increased spending
The DBM said that the total budget disbursements for July amounting P197.8 billion is an improvement over the P162.5 billion recorded during the same period last year.

“From month-to-month, we’re seeing the sustained improvement of the pace and quality of our expenditures, so that we’re proceeding at the momentum we want and channeling our resources to high-impact projects,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.

As of end-July, infrastructure and capital outlay spending increased by 42.4 percent for infrastructure projects by the Department of Public Works and Highways—releasing a total of P82.5 billion, or 63 percent for expenditure from January to July this year.

“We look forward to facilitating disbursements that will ensure continued growth across high-performing and promising industries, as well as the rapid implementation of big-ticket programs and projects,” said Abad, referring to the government’s campaign to improve infrastructure and establish inclusive growth.

The big-ticket programs and projects being pushed by the Aquino administration include Resettlement Programs, Emergency Housing Assistance for Calamity Victims, Health Facilities Enhancement Program, Philippine National Police Modernization and creation of new Department of Education positions, among others.

WITH REPORT FROM KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO

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