The national government’s fiscal performance resulted in a sharply higher budget surplus for the month of May as revenue-generating agencies recorded double-digit collections growth on enhanced valuation methods and stricter procedures.
The government posted a primary budget surplus of P35.4 billion for May, reflecting a 90 percent or P31.8 billion increase from the P3.5 billion primary surplus a year earlier, according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of the Treasury and the DOF.
The primary budget surplus figure, however, does not account for interest payments on foreign and domestic debt issues recorded during the month. After subtracting the interest payments, the actual surplus for May stood at P11.8 billion, still an improvement, though much less, over the P13.2 billion deficit a year ago.
Revenue collections in May rose 12 percent year-on-year to P172.3 billion, while expenditures slowed down by 4 percent to P160.5 billion.
The Finance agency attributed the continuing budget surplus to double-digit growth in the collections of the revenue-generating agencies of the government.
The DOF noted that 92 percent of the total government revenues for May are composed of tax revenues.
“In the month of May, we saw total revenues, tax revenues, BIR [Bureau of Internal Revenue] collections, and BOC [Bureau of Customs] collections expanding at double-digit growth rates,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.
The tax bureau collected P128.3 billion in May, representing a 15 percent year-on-year growth, while the BOC maintained its double-digit revenue growth since the start of the year, bringing in P28.8 billion for the month—11 percent higher compared to the same period last year.
The BOC said its collection efficiency improved because of the bureau’s enhanced reference valuation figures and stricter enforcement of customs policies and procedures, surveillance, and apprehension of smuggled goods.
Purisima said that the surplus is a sign that government spending for upcoming projects can be improved. “This signifies the third straight month of double-digit year-on-year growth for total revenues and the fifth straight month for the Bureau of Customs. If we keep up this performance, we are on track to fund more crucial infrastructure projects, especially the three new ones recently approved by the NEDA [National Economic and Development Authority] Board,” Purisima said.
Revenue increases were tempered, however, by lower remittances of dividends from government-owned shares of stocks, leading to a 56 percent year-on-year decline in total income from the Treasury bureau in May.
Interest payments were also significantly higher at P23.6 billion, up 41 percent year-on-year, mainly driven by the timing of recording payments to foreign creditors, as well as a 19 percent growth in domestic interest payments due to Retail Treasury Bonds issued in 2013, the DOF data shows.
As of end-May, total interest payments amounted to P140.1 billion, inching up by 1
percent or P1.4 billion over the same period in 2013.
“The national government continues to show proactive liability management and promotes the sustainability of its debt portfolio, as manifested by the decreasing share of interest payments to government spending,” Purisima said, in spite of the increase in the total interest paid.
On a year-to-date basis, the May turnout resulted in a cumulative P8.5 billion surplus, a significant turnaround from the P42.8 billion deficit posted in the first five months of 2013.