Budget deficit widens to P40B


    The national government’s budget deficit widened to P40.1 billion in August, amid a double-digit decline in revenues due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, data released by the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) showed.

    The BTr said in a statement yesterday the budget shortfall in August is much wider compared to P2.5 billion a year ago.

    “The fiscal outturn resulted from the 13.05 percent year-over-year decrease in government receipts due to the continued impact of the pandemic outbreak with minimal growth in government expenditures for the period,” the BTr said.

    This drove the year-to-date deficit to P740.7 billion, surpassing last year’s shortfall for the same period of P120.4 billion.

    Total revenues for August reached P243.2 billion, down by 13.05 percent from the P279.7 billion in collections a year ago.

    Cumulative collections of P1.931 trillion as of end-August has similarly declined by 7.67 percent from P2.09 trillion a year ago.

    The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) collection stood at P187.9 billion, reflecting an 8.59 percent decline for the month.

    The year-to-date BIR collection of P1.3 trillion was also 10.26 percent lower relative to 2019’s eight-month total of P1.45 trillion. “This already comprised 77 percent of the revised 2020 target of P1.685 trillion, but only 58 percent when compared to the original program,” the BTr said.

    “BIR needs a monthly average collection of P96 billion for the rest of the year to reach its revised full-year program,” it added.

    The Bureau of Customs (BOC) meanwhile raised P44.4 billion for August, down by 17.19 percent year-on-year, which the BTr said is due to lower import volumes caused by the ongoing pandemic.

    Compared to last year’s outturn, BOC’s cumulative revenue for 2020 has likewise dropped by 15.55 percent to P347.3 billion from P411.2 billion, and is only 51 percent of the original program.

    “For the year, BOC has still to collect P158.9 billion, or P40.0 billion on average per month, to achieve its revised P506.2 billion program,” the BTr said.

    Income collected by the BTr reached P2.1 billion in August, 65.3 percent lower compared to P5.9 billion in 2019.

    The agency said the decline was mainly due to an 81 percent drop in remittance from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

    adding to lower income from government investment and deposits.

    Despite the contraction, the year-to-date BTr income still managed to grow to P192.9 billion, notching a significant increase of 78.8 percent.

    “BTr has already exceeded its original full-year target of P82.3 billion by P110.7 billion behind higher dividend collection and other government service income and almost 90 percent of the revised program of P213.3 billion,” the agency said.

    Collections from other offices, which include privatization proceeds and fees and charges, generated P8 billion for the month, 33.32 percent lower from the previous year, still due to limitations in government transactions following the imposition of stringent health protocols, the BTr said.

    Similarly, the aggregate total collection of P76.3 billion as of end-August lagged behind last year’s P103.9 billion by 26.58 percent.

    Meanwhile, the expenditures in August inched up by 0.38 percent to P283.3 billion from P282.2 billion a year ago.

    “The uptick is mainly due to the timing of subsidy releases to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) for the health insurance premiums of indigent beneficiaries enrolled under the National Health Insurance Program, where some P27.7 billion was released in August last year,” the BTr said.

    “For this year, releases to PhilHealth between May to July already reached P30.3 billion. Net of the said expenditure, disbursements for the month of August grew by 11.3 percent year-on-year, largely on account of higher health and social services spending of the Departments of Health and Social Welfare and Development,” it added.

    Year-to-date, the national government’s disbursements of P2.671 trillion is up by 20.79 percent from last year’s spending of P2.211 trillion for the first eight months of the year.

    Net of interest payments, expenses for the month broadly paced last year’s P262.6 billion, settling at P260.8 billion.

    On the other hand, the P2.402 trillion cumulative primary spending was 22.48 percent higher over the same period in 2019.