Gov’t incurs P14.1B deficit in Jan

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    The national government incurred a budget deficit in January, a reversal of the surplus in the same time last year, amid lower tax revenues, data released by the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) showed.

    According to the latest cash operations report released yesterday, the government posted a budget deficit of P14.1 billion, reversing the P23 billion surplus in January 2020.

    The fiscal outturn was due to a double-digit contraction in revenue collection and a minimal increase in spending.

    Revenue collection in January amounted to P260.7 billion, dropping by 11.51 percent from last year’s P294.6 billion as government collecting agencies posted negative growth for the month, the BTr said.

    Collections by the Bureau of Internal Revenue fell by 6.54 percent to P182.2 billion in January from P194.9 billion a year ago, which the BTr said was due to the continued economic disruptions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

    Similarly, the Bureau of Customs’ collection for the first month of 2021 lagged behind last year’s revenue performance of P55.9 billion by 15.41 percent, totaling P47.3 billion.

    The BTr also posted a 34.27 percent contraction in revenue to P18.7 billion for the month, from P28.4 billion in January 2020.

    The BTr attributed the decrease to a high base effect of dividend remittances from government-owned and -controlled corporations in January last year, particularly the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas which remitted P17.3 billion last year, and the 58.69 percent drop in the national government’s share from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s income.

    Other offices, which covered other non-tax revenues including privatization proceeds and fees and charges, contributed P9.4 billion in January, registering a 24.97 percent decline over comparable collections recorded a year ago.

    Meanwhile, government expenditures for January amounted to P274.8 billion, reflecting a modest increase of 1.18 percent from last year’s P271.6 billion spending.

    The BTr said the uptick was moderated by lower interest payments, which declined by 23.43 percent to P47 billion mainly due to the redemption of global bonds in 2020 and the settlement of premiums on reissued treasury bonds.

    Net of interest payments, however, spending grew by 8.37 percent from the P210.2 billion recorded a year ago to P227.8 billion in January 2021, owing largely to higher allocations for local government units and disbursements by line agencies.