PH gov't registers P8B surplus in September
MANILA, Philippines – From a P15 billion ($319.89 million) record in August, the national government registered a lower surplus of P8 billion ($170.58 million) in September, the Department of Finance (DOF) reported on Thursday, November 5.
Year-to-date primary surplus registered at P230.2 billion ($4.91 billion), 2% higher than year-ago figures, DOF said.
A surplus, considered as a sign that the government is being run efficiently, might be used to pay off debt, save for the future, or to make purchases.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad earlier said that disbursements in the last few months of 2015 can grow by at least 10% year-on-year, especially since the funds are supposed to be obligated before the election ban starts in February 2016.
Infrastructure spending, meanwhile, has gone up from 1.8% of gross domestic product in 2010 to 4.3% in 2015, and 5% in 2016. Tightened spending in infrastructure has always been blamed for the country's slower than expected growth.
The national government’s budget balance in September 2015 was at a deficit of P22.1 billion ($471.10 million), bringing the year-to-date balance to a deficit of P25.5 billion ($543.58 million).
Total revenues reached P164.1 billion ($3.5 billion) in September, 6% or P9.5 billion ($202.56 million) higher than last year's figure.
Total revenues for January-September reached P1.61 trillion ($34.33 billion), reflecting a 13% growth year-on-year.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) hauled in P112.3 billion ($2.39 billion) for the month, 6% wider than year-ago figures. This pulls year-to date collections of the BIR to P1.07 trillion ($22.01 billion), growing 8% or P78.4 billion ($1.67 billion) from year-ago figures.
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) raised P32.7 billion ($697.02 billion) in September, making January-September figures amount to P268.2 billion ($5.72 billion). Even as weighted average values of imported oil continue to sag with a 38% year-on-year decline in September, total Customs collections for January to September still beat year-ago figures by 1%. This was buoyed by the 11% improvement in collections from non-oil commodities for the month.
Income from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) amounted to P8 billion ($170.52 million) for September, pushing the year-to-date total to P91.9 billion ($1.96 billion), 13% higher than year-ago figures. BTr is still P31.2 billion ($665.11 million) above its full-year 2015 program.
Disbursements for September totaled P186.2 billion ($3.97 billion), expanding 17% year-on-year.
For the period of January to September, expenditures reached P1.63 trillion ($34.76 billion), an increase of 12% from year-ago levels.
Year-to-date, interest payments amounted to P255.8 billion ($5.45 billion), P27.7 billion ($590.58 million) lower than programmed. Interest payments for January-September 2015 accounted for 16% of expenditures, improving on the 18% share recorded last year.
For same period, budgets for social services went up by 471%; basic education by 79%; and health by 211%.
Long way to go
But DOF said "still, there is a long way to go."
It noted that as of 2013, the Philippines ranks only 7th in terms of amount of available fiscal space allocated for education and health, with Vietnam leading at 6.6% average education spending to GDP. The Philippines only registered 2.7% from 2006-2012 and 3.66% health spending to GDP or 1.39% in 2013.
Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima also noted that while the government continues to maintain its fiscal performance, "piecemeal revenue eroding measures are fiscally unsustainable in the long run."
He added that the country is still at a tax-to-GDP level of 13.6% in 2014, "far from our target of achieving at least a 16% tax-to-GDP ratio in 2016 to fund social commitments and other demands for public goods in the future." (READ: Palace: 'No debate on need for tax reforms')
"We agree with the need to reform our tax system, but since the problems with it are structural in nature, we urge fiscal responsibility in considering tax reform in a comprehensive and holistic manner," Purisima said. – Rappler.com
$1 = P46.30