THE budget deficit of the national government widened to P74.38 billion in March from February and a year earlier with revenue collections dropping amid the surge in disbursements, data released by the Department of Finance (DOF) showed on Thursday.
The deficit stood at P34.62 billion in February and P17.37 billion in March 2015.
National government disbursements surged by 23 percent in March to P232.18 billion from a year ago.
Interest payments climbed 18 percent to P35.74 billion, while other expenditures rose 24 percent to P196.43 billion.
In primary terms, which exclude interest payments on foreign and domestic debt, the government posted a deficit of P38.6 billion in March, a reversal of P12.9 billion a year-ago surplus.
Q1 gap grows
The March budget performance brought the first-quarter deficit to P112.48 billion, wider than the P35.51 billion gap in the first three months last year.
Total January to March 2016 disbursements hit P591.46 billion while revenues totaled P478.97 billion.
The primary deficit of P9.9 billion in the three-month period was a turnaround of the P67.1 billion surplus a year ago.
The Finance department noted that March revenues were down 8 percent from a year earlier, resulting in a year-to-date increase of only 2 percent.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collected P105.68 billion, 9 percent higher than in March 2015 and taking its three-month tally to P330.17 trillion, an 8-percent increase from the same period a year ago.
The Bureau of Customs, meanwhile, collected P32.38 billion, down 9 percent from last year, taking its January to March tally to P90.5 billion.
The Bureau of the Treasury contributed P11.15 billion in March, taking its year-to-date total to P24.91 billion, a 34 percent decrease. Collections by other offices eased 38 percent to P8.58 billion in March.