MANILA—The country’s budget deficit declined to Php 61.5 billion in March 2017, down 17 percent from Php 74.4 billion a year ago.
The Bureau of Treasury (BTr) attributed the decline in budget gap to the faster growth of revenues compared with the expenditures during the period in review.
BTr data show that revenues rose by 14 percent compared to the four percent expansion of expenditures.
Revenues last March amounted to Php 180.2 billion, up from Php 157.8 billion same period in 2016, while spending reached Php 241.7 billion, slightly higher than year-ago’s Php 232.2 billion.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), which collects around 70 percent of taxes, contributed Php 117.1 billion, up 11 percent from its Php 105.7 billion revenues in March 2016.
Bureau of the Customs (BOC) collected Php 37.3 billion, 15 percent higher than its Php 32.4 billion revenues in March last year.
Tax revenues from the Other Offices amounted to Php 1.9 billion, up 32 percent from year-ago’s Php 1.4 billion.
Non-tax revenues collected by the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) reached Php 9.6 billion, down 14 percent from year-ago’s Php 11 billion.
While the Other Offices posted a 100 percent rise in collections to Php 14.3 billion from year-ago’s Php 7.1 billion.
In the first quarter of the year, the budget gap reached Php 83 billion, down 26 percent from Php 112.5 billion from January to March 2016.
Revenues amounted to Php 532.4 billion, 11 percent higher than the Php 479 billion in the first quarter of 2016.
BIR contributed Php 370.4 billion, 12 percent higher than the Php 330.2 billion in the first quarter of 2016.
BOC’s revenues rose 15 percent from Php 90.5 billion to Php 104.1 billion.
The Other Offices’ tax revenues amounted to Php 5 billion, eight percent higher than the Php 4.7 billion same period last year.
BTr collected Php 22.9 billion, down eight percent from year-ago’s Php 24.9 billion while non-tax revenues of the Other Offices amounted to Php 29.9 billion, up four percent from Php 28.7 billion in end-March 2016.
Government spending in the first quarter of 2017 increased by four percent to Php 615.4 billion from the Php 591.5 million same period last year.
Meanwhile, interest payments last March alone amounted to Php 31.3 billion, down 13 percent from year-ago’s Php 35.7 billion as the government continues to cut its high interest-bearing liabilities.
In the first quarter of the year, Interest payments reached Php 97.9 billion, down five percent from year-ago’s Php 102.6 billion.
The Duterte government has decided to increase the budget gap to three percent of gross domestic product (GPD) from the previous administration’s two percent cap in line with the plan to further increase infrastructure investment.
It plans to spend about Php 8 to Php 9 trillion for its infrastructure projects until 2022, which is eyed to help achieve a domestic expansion of around eight percent and lift the economy to middle income status by the end of its term in 2022 and high-income status by 2040.