By Mayvelin U. Caraballo Reporter
The national government’s fiscal deficit in the first quarter of 2013 reached P66.478 billion, the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) said on Thursday.
In a statement, the bureau noted that the fiscal deficit from January to March was P7.397 billion lower than the programmed ceiling of P73.875 billion.
In March, the BTr said that the national government incurred a deficit amounting to P35.198 billion.
Revenue collections for the first quarter reached P364.325 billion, higher than the P360.974 billion collected in the same period a year ago on the back of strong growth in collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Excluding dividends, the 2013 revenues stood at P360.072 billion, compared to the P341.556 billion in 2012, or a 5.4-percent increase, BTr added.
In March, revenue collections reached P113.609 billion as collections by BIR and Bureau of Customs (BOC) were recorded at P74.825 and P21.805 billion, respectively.
BTr income, on the other hand, reached P8.594 billion, while collections from other offices amounted to P8.385 billion for the month.
Furthermore, the bureau said that actual collections for BIR were recorded at P244.062 billion for the quarter, with BOC recording P68.816 billion, while BTr income totaled P24.906 billion while other offices brought in P26.541 billion.
Total tax revenues for the first quarter amounted to P316.722 billion, representing 87 percent of total revenues while the remaining 13 percent came from non-tax revenues.
“To ensure that our revenue collection agencies can further strengthen their performance, we have embarked on a number of substantial initiatives this year. We have employed a data analytics strategy complemented by an advertising campaign to increase compliance among self-employed taxpayers,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.
He also said that the agency expects that its anti-smuggling measures, including port accreditation and import plan monitoring, to have a significant impact on revenues this year.
“Our drive for good governance will manifest in budget reports that continue to come closer to targets,” the finance chief added.
Moreover, the bureau also reported that national government’s total disbursements for the first quarter of 2013 amounted to P430.803 billion, 9.1 percent higher than comparable disbursements in 2012.
Interest payments amounting to P98.338 billion made up 23 percent of total expenditures and was 0.2 percent lower compared with interest outflows of the same period in 2012.
Actual disbursements in March amounted to P148.807 billion corresponding to a 3.3 percent increase year-on-year, it added.
Netting out interest payments as a part of expenditures, the national government recorded a primary surplus for the quarter amounting to P31.860 billion.
“The data from our cash budget performance shows that we are committed to investing in the Filipino people while maintaining our strong primary surplus position. Moreover, we are now shifting our financing domestically to take advantage of the increased local liquidity brought about by market confidence,” Purisima stated.