By Chino S. Leyco
The national government incurred a budget deficit in August, a reversal of the fiscal surplus in the previous year owing to the more than a quarter increase in public spending during the month.
The Bureau of the Treasury reported yesterday that the national government posted a P2.6-billion financing gap last month, a reversal of the P28.8-billion surplus in the same month last year.
During the month, government expenditures reached P259.5 billion in August, up by 29 percent compared with P201.6 billion in the previous year.
Of that amount, interest payments accounted for 11 percent of total expenditures, which increased by 7.0 percent year-on-year to P28.3 billion.
Revenues, meanwhile, grew at a much slower pace by 11 percent to P256.9 billion from P230.4 billion a year ago. Income from taxes amounted to P239.8 billion, while non-taxes reached P17.1 billion.
In August, the Bureau of Internal Revenue collected P185.1 billion, higher by eight percent compared with P171.7 billion last year, while the Bureau of Customs raised P52 billion, an increase of 36 percent from P38.3 billion.
The treasury bureau, on the other hand, generated P5.4 billion during the month, down 13 percent year-on-year from P6.2 billion. Other offices also raised P14.4 billion in August, slightly higher compared with last year’s P14.3 billion.
The August fiscal gap brought the national government’s eight-month budget deficit to P282.2 billion, higher by 60 percent compared with P176.2 billion.
At end-August, revenues reached P1.909 trillion, while expenditures amounted to P2.191 trillion.
To date, 67 percent of the P2.846.3 trillion full year revenue program has been collected, while 65 percent of the P3.37 trillion of this year’s program has been disbursed.
Excluding interest payments from total spending, the national government was able to revert to a primary surplus amounting to P25.7 billion for the month, its third time to attain a primary surplus since January this year.
This resulted in a year-to-date primary deficit of P43.3 billion, reversing the P46.4-billion primary surplus posted in the first eight months of 2017.