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Philippine gov't posts $1.84-B budget surplus
Publication Date : 05-06-2014
The Philippines posted a record-high budget surplus in April, nearly wiping out the deficit incurred the start of the year, as government spending slumped despite the need for extensive reconstruction efforts in typhoon-ravaged Visayas.
Although collections by both the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) fell short of their targets, state spending in April contracted, resulting in the record surplus that was more than double of last year’s.
The Department of Finance (DOF) yesterday said the government’s budget surplus reached 80.9 billion pesos (US$1.844 billion) in April. This trimmed the government’s deficit since January to only 3.3 billion pesos, significantly lower than last year’s 29.7-billion-peso shortfall.
This came as disbursements fell 6 per cent year-on-year to 143.6 billion pesos in April. For the four-month period, spending was up 7 per cent to 626.1 billion pesos.
Interest payments, which were down 43 per cent, accounted for 19 per cent of the government’s spending in four months, the DOF said. This was better than last year’s debt service burden of 21 per cent.
Revenue collections for April reached 224.4 billion pesos, representing an 18-per cent increase year-on-year. The government’s main money maker, the BIR, saw tax collections rise 5 per cent to 156.1 billion pesos from a year ago. The customs bureau performed better, with revenues increasing 13 per cent in April to 30.8 billion pesos.
The Bureau of the Treasury raised 30.8 billion pesos in April as dividends reached 18.5 billion pesos. Total Treasury income for April was five times the amount in 2013, bringing the January-April 2014 collections to 51.8 billion pesos while approaching 92 per cent of the revenue target for 2014.
Despite falling short of spending goals, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima remained confident, noting that the surplus in April gave the government more room to boost spending in the coming months to boost economic growth.