Gov’t posts P1-B budget surplus in November
Finance chief Cesar Purisima says the surplus is 'encouraging' given that the government had to spend for recovery efforts following Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)

SURPLUS. The Philippines posts a budget surplus in November despite having to spend for Typhoon Yolanda recovery efforts. AFP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The government posted a budget surplus of P1 billion in November, reversing its P11.5 billion deficit in the same month of 2012.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said in a statement on Wednesday, January 8 the surplus was “especially encouraging” given that the government had to spend for recovery efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

The surplus brought the country’s deficit in the first 11 months to P111.5 billion, well within the P173.2-billion program of government.

The government incurs a deficit when its expenditures exceed the revenues it collects. It finances this deficit through borrowings. The Aquino administration aims to keep trimming down the deficit to lower borrowing costs and free up funds for social services.

Data from the Finance department showed that despite typhoon recovery efforts, government expenditures in November fell 2% to P164 billion from P166.8 billion in the same month of 2012.

Revenues, on the other hand, grew 6% year-on-year to P165 billion from P155.3 billion.

In the January-November period, expenditures went up 9% to P1.677 trillion, while revenues jumped 11% to P1.565 trillion.

Tax agencies post strong performance

Both the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs posted double-digit growth rates in collections for November.

BIR revenues of P126.5 billion for the month reflected a 14% increase over the same month of 2012.

Amid ongoing reform initiatives and high import volumes during the holidays, Customs collections amounted to P28.2 billion, a 19% growth over 2012.

The Customs bureau welcomed the new year with reform initiatives, inviting the public to analyze actual import transactions. Data on importations starting December are posted in the new and improved BOC website and in the Customs ng Bayan website, an information portal to be fully launched mid-January.

Purisima said, “By opening the books of one of the most corrupt government agencies and uploading publicly available information in the Customs Ng Bayan website, the Filipino people can actively join in our fight against widespread smuggling and corruption in Customs by analyzing for themselves actual import information and identifying fraudulent and questionable transactions.”

Interest savings

Due to the net issuance of fixed rate treasury bonds, interest payments for November inched 2% above program. However, year-to-November interest payments of P296.7 billion remain below the government’s cap of P302.8 billion, reflecting interest savings of P6.1 billion, said the Finance department.

The government continues to show progress in reducing interest payments as a share of expenditures. January to November payments narrowed down to 17.7% of the government’s total disbursements, versus 18.4% in the same period in 2012.­ –

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