Gov’t swings back to deficit in May

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  • Government spending turned to deficit in May, reversing the surplus that was recorded a month ago.

    The national government said the deficit hit P32.9 billion, slightly lower, by 2 percent, than last year’s level and is 32 percent lower than programmed.

    On a year-to-date basis, the government posted a P138.7-billion deficit, more than double the level posted a year ago.

    The lower-than-expected deficit was achieved on account of higher revenue collections which exceeded the program by P81.5 billion, up 7 percent, outpacing the 1 percent or P15.2 billion increase in spending.

    Revenue collections in May hit P259 billion, up 13 percent, bringing the year to date collection to P1,186.3 billion, up 19 percent.

    Tax collection by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) raised P174.7 billion in May, up 10 percent.

    The government said the BIR was able to sustain double-digit growth for the first five months of the year leading to a 15 percent increase in January to May collections at P830.5 billion.

    “Deducting tax refunds resulted in a net collection of P172.0 billion for May with YoY (year-on-year) growth of 8 percent, bringing year- to-date collections and growth to P827.7 billion and 15 percent, respectively,” the Department of Finance said in a statement.

    Collections by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) meanwhile hit P53.6 billion, up 35 percent. On a year to date basis, cumulative collections hit P230.7 billion up 31 percent. Net of tax refunds, BOC collections for the month settled at P52.7 billion, up 33 percent YoY while the January to May level of P229.3 billion improved by 31 percent over the same period in the previous year. The increase was due to the combined effects of the weaker peso, higher oil price, and higher import volumes.

    The Bureau of the Treasury meanwhile posted an income of P21.4 billion, up 19 percent due to higher dividends on shares of stocks held by the government and remittance of shares in the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp . and the Manila International Airport Authority profits.

    “The year-to-date BTr income of P58.4 billion has increased by 22 percent from the same period last year,” the DOF said.

    “Non-tax revenues from other offices grew 12 percent year-on-year to reach P10.6 billion for the month, resulting to a 28 percent growth in year-to-date collections of P61.1 billion,” it added.

    Disbursements by the government meanwhile hit P291.9 billion, up 12 percent.

    For the first five months of the year, disbursements hit P1.325 trillion, up 25 percent.

    Meantime primary expenditure (total disbursements net of interest payment) reached P1.183 trillion, 28 percent higher.

    Interest payments totaled P21.1 billion. Foreign interest payments hit P2.5 billion generated the uptick, mainly due to peso depreciation and an increase in rates for outstanding floating rate loans.

    “This was partially offset by lower domestic payments worth P18.6 billion owing to maturities of various fixed rate and retail bonds in 2017,” the government said.

    The cumulative interest payment however hit P141.4 billion, up 7 percent due to domestic coupon payments for RTBs (retail treasury bonds) issued in April and December last year.

    (R. CASTRO, Malaya)

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