MANILA, Philippines – After posting a string of budget surpluses last year, the national government recorded a fiscal deficit of P120.3 billion in the first half of 2016 on the back of increased spending, the Department of Finance (DOF) said on Wednesday, July 27.
The government posted a P13.7-billion budget surplus in the same period last year, according to data from the Bureau of Treasury (BTr).
In June, the budget gap widened by P45.2 billion, higher than the P17.7-billion deficit recorded in May this year, but down by 38% year-on-year from the P72.7 billion recorded in June 2015.
As of June, government spending totaled P1.22 trillion, 14% higher than last year’s P1.07 trillion.
Government revenues totaled P1.1 trillion in the first half of the year, a 1% increase from last year’s P1.08 trillion. Last year’s budget, however, also included the one-time P75.3-billion coco levy proceeds to government coffers, the DOF pointed out.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) was the government’s main source of revenue for the period, bringing in P783.4 billion – 11% more than the last year’s P705.9 billion.
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) added to P190.6 billion to the government’s first-semester revenues, up 7% year-on-year from P178.6 billion, while the Treasury’s income fell 5% to P63.7 billion.
Interest payments, accounting for nearly 13% of spending, amounted to P153.7 billion, down 2% from last year’s P156.1 billion, the DOF said.
The Duterte administration has promised aggressive spending on infrastructure while Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno has also revealed plans to raise the deficit ceiling to 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) from the current 2%.
The DOF said that the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) is expected to finalize the updated proposed 2017 budget during its next meeting. Diokno said earlier that he is proposing a P3.35-trillion budget for 2017. – Rappler.com
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