Budget deficit widens to P178.6B in Sept.

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    The national government’s budget deficit widened in September as government spending picked up and posted its highest monthly growth this year, according to the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr).

    The BTr said in a press release yesterday the national government registered a P178.6 billion budget deficit in September, 85.52 percent higher than the P96.2 billion a year ago.

    Government spending grew by 39.01 percent, while revenue collections accelerated by 16.89 percent.

    However, the year-to-date budget balance of P299 billion still lags behind the P378.2 billion posted last year by 20.95 percent, and is 18.03 percent lower than the P364.7 billion program set for the period.

    The national government disbursed P415.1 billion last month, equivalent to 39.01 percent annual growth, the fastest for the first nine months of 2019, the BTr said.

    Cumulatively, government expenditures from January to September also improved by 5.51 percent to P2.63 trillion from a year ago, but is still 2.14 percent behind the program.

    “The national government continued to catch up with its spending plan for the year where 71.2 percent of the P3.77 trillion full-year program is to be disbursed as of end-September despite the delay in the passage of the 2019 budget and the election ban in the earlier part of the year,” the BTr said.

    Expenditures net of interest payments reached P372 billion for September, growing by 39.89 percent from a year ago.

    Hence, the end-September primary expenditures of P2.33 trillion is 5.17 percent better compared to the January to September 2018 level, but is below target by 1.42 percent.

    Meanwhile, government revenues in September stood at P236.5 billion, 16.89 percent higher than similar collections posted in 2018.

    As of end-September, total collections have increased by 10.25 percent year-on-year amounting to P2.33 trillion, also beating the target by 0.35 percent. This is 73.91 percent of the full-year target.

    Collections by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in September improved by 15.24 percent to P150.5 billion.

    This increased BIR’s year-to-date revenue to P1.6 trillion, notching a 10.98 percent growth over last year’s level, but still 4.2 percent behind the program.

    Total monthly collections from the Bureau of Customs reached P58.8 billion, outperforming September 2018’s outturn by 15.13 percent.

    “Growth for the month was attributed to higher imports and collections from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law, Rice Tarrification Law and the National Food Authority tax expenditure collection,” the BTr said.

    The resulting cumulative collections for January to September also went up by 8.15 percent to P470 billion, but fell short by 2.29 percent of the program.

    The BTr posted a 48.83 percent increase in its September income to P10.7 billion, fueled by higher returns from its investments and deposits, interest on advances to government-owned and -controlled corporations, and the national government’s share from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s income.

    The BTr’s year-to-date revenue of P118.6 billion is 31.05 percent higher versus the P90.5 billion generated in the first three quarters of 2018, and has exceeded its full-year 2019 target by 60.51 percent.

    The P14.8 billion non-tax revenue from other offices (other non-tax including privatization proceeds and fees and charges) is up 24.3 percent to P14.8 billion.

    Year-to-date revenues contracted by 5.54 percent to P118.7 billion from 2018 but is still 38.13 percent above the end-third quarter 2019 target.