Infrastructure
The Duterte government has been pushing for a wider budget gap to accommodate heightened infrastructure spending, particularly big-ticket projects in its “Build, Build, Build” program. For 2019, the state has set a wider deficit ceiling at P624.4 billion (3.2 percent of GDP).
The STAR/Michael Varcas, File photo
Budget deficit narrows in March
(Philstar.com) - April 26, 2019 - 12:45pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government posted a narrower budget gap in March, pulling down the three-month deficit as revenue growth outpaced softer state spending due to delays in the passage of 2019 national budget, the Bureau of the Treasury reported Thursday.

The budget gap in March stood at P58.4 billion, 47% slimmer than last year’s outturn. In the first quarter, fiscal deficit was at P90.2 billion, down 41% or P61.9 billion from the same period last year.

A deficit means the government spent more than it earned, while the surplus means otherwise.

Revenue collection in March grew 13% or P26.6 billion year-on-year to P228.9 billion. Year-to-date, the government collected P687.7 billion (including grants) from January to March, up 11% from P619.8 billion in the comparable period last year.

Meanwhile, disbursements last month totalled to P287.3 billion, down 8% or P25.7 billion from a year ago which the BTr mainly attributed to lower subsidy and equity releases to government-owned and controlled corporations and delays in the passage of the 2019 spending plan.

Year-to-date, expenditures grew 1% or P6.0 billion to P778.0 billion from last year’s P772.0 billion driven by the increase in interest payments, the Treasury said.

A squabble in Congress delayed the approval of the new outlay, forcing the national government to operate on a reenacted budget — the first time in nine years.

The inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee last month cut its 2019 gross domestic product growth projection to 6%-7% from 7%-8% percent originally as new projects were unfunded due to the budget deadlock. 

The Duterte government has been pushing for a wider budget gap to accommodate heightened infrastructure spending, particularly big-ticket projects in its “Build, Build, Build” program.

For 2019, the state has set a wider deficit ceiling at P624.4 billion (3.2 percent of gross domestic product). — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

BUDGET DEFICIT PHILIPPINE ECONOMY
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