August 24, 2019
THE government posted in July a budget deficit that is narrower than the year-ago shortfall as revenue collections grew faster than state spending, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) announced on Friday.
In a statement, the Treasury said last month’s P75.3-billion deficit was higher than June’s P41.8-billion shortfall, but lower than P86.4-billion shortfall in July 2018 by 12.8 percent (P11.1 billion).
Government revenues rose by 9.2 percent to P264.1 billion in July from P241.7 billion last year, while expenditures grew by 3.4 percent to P339.4 billion from P328.1 billion.
A month earlier, revenues grew by 4.32 percent and expenditures declined by 0.99 percent.
July’s shortfall dragged the first-half deficit to P117.9 billion, 57.7 percent narrower than the P279.4 billion posted in the first seven months of last year.
For July alone, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) accounted for the bulk of revenues with P180.3 billion, a 9.9-percent increase from P164 billion a year earlier. The growth was slower than June’s 15.3 percent.
The Bureau of Customs (BoC) netted P54.6 billion — a 4.7-percent gain from last year’s P52.1 billion — while other offices contributed P1.9 billion, bringing total tax revenues for the month to P236.9 billion.
Tax-revenue growth was slower at 8.8 percent in July than 11.85 percent a month earlier.
Non-tax earnings reached P27.2 billion, with the Treasury contributing P14.4 billion — up 22.1 percent — “driven by higher income from NG (national government) deposits, investment from the Bond Sinking Fund, guarantee fees and NG share from Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) income,” the bureau said.
The bulk of government spending — P288.4 billion — was for primary expenditures, which rose by 1.8 percent from P283.3 billion a year ago.
Interest payments (IPs) of P51 billion, meanwhile, accounted for the rest of state spending. It rose by 13.6 percent year-on-year.
In a comment, ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Antonio Mapa said “decent” increases in public expenditure and revenue collection show that the government began the second half of the year “on the right foot.”
“Government spending (or lack of it) was tagged as one of the culprits for the speed bump that the Philippine hit in H1 (first half) and, so far, it looks like the government is hell-bent on rolling out the funding to help nudge growth in the right direction,” he added.
Meanwhile, revenues in the January-to-July period jumped by 9.6 percent to P1.81 trillion year-on-year.
The BIR’s six-month tally of P1.24 trillion was 10.4 percent higher than the year-ago figure, while the BoC’s year-to-date take of P357.7 billion was a 7.8-percent increase from last year’s amount.
Primary expenditures dropped by 1.32 percent to P1.69 trillion during the period, while IPs grew by 9.8 percent to P231 billion.
Year to date, the primary balance hit a surplus of P113.1 billion, a reversal of last year’s P69.1-billion deficit.
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