Debt payment doubles as of Sept; NG settles P300B advances

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    Bureau of the Treasury Building in Intramuros, Manila (Photo btr.gov.ph)

    The national government’s debt payments surged in the first nine months of the year as the government settled the P300 billion lent by the central bank to help fund coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) initiatives.

    According to the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), the government spent P1.135 trillion for its domestic and international debts in the first three quarters of 2020.

    Data posted on the BTr’s website showed this is significantly higher than the P558.22 billion paid out in the same period in 2019, by around 103 percent.

    Principal payments rose by 210.7 percent to P821.74 billion from the P264.48 billion paid out in the same period a year ago.

    Of the said amount, P300 billion was for “advances to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).”

    At the onset of the lockdown measures imposed last March to combat the COVID-19, the BSP lent P300 billion to the national government under a repurchase agreement “with a maximum repayment period of six months.”

    The BTr has fully settled the amount on September 29.

    Considered as the lender of last resort, the BSP may make direct provisional advances with or without interest to the national government to finance expenditures authorized in its annual appropriation, pursuant to Section 89 of Republic Act No. 7653 or the New Central Bank Act.

    Of the total amortization made during the period, P698.56 billion was used to pay local lenders while P123.19 billion was spent to settle foreign obligations.

    Meanwhile, interest payments as of September totaled to P312.97 billion, 6.55 percent higher than the P293.74 billion paid out as of the same period last year.

    Of the amount, P224.28 billion was paid to domestic creditors while P88.69 billion was for international debt.

    For the month of September, debt payments posted a significant hike, by 664.59 percent to P374.06 billion from P48.92 billion a year ago, due to the payment made to the BSP.

    Amortization stood at P330.7 billion, jumping from the P5.83 billion a year ago, while interest payments amounted to P43.37 billion, around the same as September of the previous year’s value of P43.09 billion.