Government posts budget surplus in April — Treasury

By Julian Ocampo

MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration recorded a budget surplus last month even as both spending and revenues contracted, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed.

The surplus—which indicates more revenues were earned than spent—amounted to P52.8 billion, 4 percent narrower than the P55-billion excess posted in the same period last year.
A surplus is usually recorded in April every year as this falls during the deadline of filing of income tax returns, thus, boosting revenue generation in the process.
Broken down however, revenues reached P235.9 billion, while disbursements totaled P183.1 billion for the month. Both were down 4 per cent year-on-year.
On the revenue side, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)—which collects income tax—raised P187.7 billion, up 6 percent from previous year’s P177.7 billion.
Nonetheless, this was not enough to offset drops on other agencies, particularly at the Bureau of Customs where collections went down 5 percent to P31.1 billion, figures showed.
BIR and Customs collectively account for over 90 percent of monthly revenue collections. The balance is shared by the Treasury and other offices, which recorded revenue drops of 75 and 23 percent, respectively.
Disbursements also suffered drops across-the-board, data showed.
Agency spending, specifically, dipped 4 percent to P169.6 billion, its worst performance in six months.
Debt interest payments declined a faster 9 percent to P13.5 billion, freeing up more resources for economic activity.
The surplus in April trimmed the year-to-date budget deficit to P30.2 billion. The government has programmed to cap the deficit at P478.1 billion by the end of the year.
The wider fiscal space—equivalent to 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)—is meant to give the government more leeway to accelerate infrastructure spending to boost growth.
Last year, the deficit reached P353.4 billion, accounting for 2.4 percent of GDP, the widest in five years.
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