PH posts P81-B budget surplus in April

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The national government posted a budget surplus of P80.9 billion in April, more than twice the surplus recorded in the previous year due to the double-digit growth in collections of its revenue-generating agencies, the Department of Finance announced Wednesday, June 4.

However, the disbursements made by the government in April fell 6%, even as officials said that there would be faster spending due to reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in Typhoon Yolanda-affected areas.

The surplus in April was 120% higher than the P36.8-billion surplus recorded a year ago.

Revenue collections rose 18% to P224.4 billion in April from P190 billion a year ago. Year-to-April revenue collections stood at P622.9 billion, 12% higher than the collections in the first 4 months of last year.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collected P156.1 billion in April, 5% higher than the previous year's. BIR collections as of end-April hit P420.8 billion, a 7% rise from 2013.

The Bureau of Customs sustained its double-digit collection growth in April, collecting P30.8 billion, a 13% gain. This brought its revenue take to P117.3 billion in the first 4 months, 22% higher year on year.

The Bureau of the Treasury, meanwhile, raised P30.8 billion in April with dividends reaching P18.5 billion, which was 5 times the amount recorded in the same period of 2013. This brought its January-April collections to P51.8 billion. 

“The month of April sustained the strong fiscal performance we experienced in the first quarter of the year,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.

The finance chief said that the ratio of tax revenue to gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter was 12.4%, an increase from 12% in the same period of 2013. "We are striving to achieve our tax effort goal for the year to give us more fiscal headroom for productive spending,” Purisima said.

Government spending

Government spent P143.6 billion for the economy in April, down 6% year on year. But year-to-April expenditures grew 7% from 2013 to P626.1 billion. 

Interest payments dropped 43% to P13.4 billion in April. Total payments of P116.5 billion in January-April were "4% better than last year." Interest payments continued to show improvement, accounting for 19% of disbursements versus 21% a year ago. –