• Fiscal position reverts to deficit in Sept

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    The country’s fiscal position reverted to a deficit in September as government spending outpaced the double-digit growth of revenues for the month, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Wednesday.

    Data released by the DOF showed that the government posted a P5.2 billion fiscal deficit in September after posting a surplus in August.

    “The recorded September deficit is P13.4 billion lower compared to last year due to improved revenue collection by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs,” it stated.

    For the nine months to September, the government’s fiscal performance resulted in a lower cumulative budget shortfall of P31.1 billion, or P70.2 billion lower than for the same period last year and well within the P235.5 billion deficit ceiling for the period.

    In terms of primary budget, the data showed that the government recorded a P23.6 billion primary surplus for September, bringing the cumulative primary surplus to P226.3 billion.

    Primary budget figures exclude interest payments on foreign and domestic debt issues recorded during the month as an indicator of the management of expenditures apart from debt servicing.

    Total revenue for the month amounted to P154.6 billion, reflecting 21 percent growth compared to the same month last year. Year-to-date collections of P1.4 trillion registered a 13 percent increment over comparable 2013 figures.

    Disbursements amounted to P159.8 billion in September, 9.0 percent or P13.8 billion higher over the same period in 2013.

    Meanwhile, year-to-date expenditures were 6 percent higher year-on-year at P1.5 trillion despite being 16 percent below budget, the DOF said.

    “Our fiscal performance through the past four years has shown that through efficient tax administration alone, we have come a long way in augmenting revenues. However, in the light of efforts to accelerate Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] integration and boost the Philippines’ competitiveness, the Department of Finance expresses openness to a change in the tax system, particularly in the review of our income tax structure,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.

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