• Feb budget gap reversed to P6.1-B surplus


    The national government reported a primary budget surplus of P6.1 billion for February after netting out interest payments.

    Otherwise, figures show a P9.7 billion deficit as government expenditures exceeded revenues during the month, based on data released by the Department of Finance (DOF) on Monday.

    Revenue collection in February rose 7 percent year-on-year to P120.3 billion, while disbursements increased 5 percent to P130 billion.

    Interest payments in the month reached P15.9 billion.

    The P15.9 billion interest payments made during the month were down 11 percent or P2.0 billion from the year-earlier interest payments of P17.9 billion, the DOF data shows.

    Looking at the February budget deficit, figures show that the gap narrowed by 17 percent or P2 billion from the P11.7 billion deficit recorded in February a year earlier.

    On a year-to-date basis, the fiscal gap for the two months to February stood at P43.9 billion, or 40 percent higher than the P31.2 billion posted in the first two months of the previous year.

    However, netting out interest payments, the government reversed the budget deficit for February and brought the year-to-date surplus to P28.4 billion.

    Focusing on the cumulative deficit, Victor Abola, University of Asia and the Pacific senior economist, said the fiscal performance of the national government as reflected by the P43.9 billion deficit is in line with the government’s full-year target.

    The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) is targeting a P266.2 billion budget deficit for this year, equivalent to 2 percent of GDP.

    “Annualized (i.e. P42.9 billion multiplied by six), this comes to about P264 billion, which is not misaligned with the government’s full-year deficit target, as this would be around 2.2 percent of GDP— that is not worrisome,” he said.

    “Besides, there is a reason why there is an increase in deficit—this is for the relief and rehabilitation of Yolanda-affected areas,” he added.


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