• Govt April primary budget surplus P94.3B; doubles year-earlier, reverses March deficit

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    The national government posted a primary budget surplus of P94.3 billion for April after netting out interest payments, reversing the P9.4 billion primary deficit posted a month earlier.

    Even without accounting for interest payments, the budget surplus stood at P80.9 billion as revenues significantly rose against expenditures during the month, according to data released by the Department of Finance (DOF) on Wednesday.

    DOF said that the April budget surplus more than doubled the surplus of P36.8 billion recorded in the same period last year.

    Revenue collection in April rose 18 percent year-on-year to P224.4 billion, while disbursements eased 6 percent to P143.6 billion.

    The Finance agency noted that the increased revenue collection during the month mostly came from non-tax sources and accounted for 71 percent of incremental revenue, with the remaining 29 percent coming from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and tax collections of other government offices.

    Meanwhile, interest payments totaled P10.3 billion, up 43 percent year-on-year, mainly due to the timing of monthly interest payments, the DOF data shows.

    On a year-to-date basis, the fiscal deficit for the four months through end-April stood at P3.3 billion, significantly lower than the P29.7 billion deficit posted in the first four months of 2013.

    The year-to-date primary budget balance, on the other hand, stood at a surplus of P113.3 billion.

    In a statement, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said that the month of April sustained the strong fiscal performance experienced in the first quarter of the year.

    Purisima noted that government revenues in the first quarter grew 9.4 percent, which is faster than the country’s first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

    He added that the government also achieved a tax revenue-to-GDP ratio of 12.4 percent, an increase from 12.0 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

    “We are striving to achieve our tax effort goal for the year to give us more fiscal headroom for productive spending,” Purisima said.

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