Gov’t spending accelerates in September

Published October 22, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chino S. Leyco

Government spending accelerated at its fastest pace this year in September as the Duterte administration implements its catch-up program to recover the slower disbursements registered in the first semester this year.

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Data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed yesterday that total government expenditures last month amounted to ₱415.1 billion, an increase of 39 percent compared with ₱298.6 billion in the same month last year.

The treasury attributed the strong double-digit rise in expenditures on the government’s program aimed at catching up the lost spending opportunity earlier this year due to the delayed 2019 general appropriations act.

Excluding the government’s interest payments, the primary expenditures last month reached ₱372 billion, up 40 percent from ₱265.9 billion in the previous year.

Along with spending, government revenues also improved by 17 percent to ₱236.5 billion in September from a year ago’s ₱202.4 billon.

Of that amount, tax revenues jumped 15 percent to ₱211 billion, while non-tax rose 33 percent to ₱25.5 billion.

The significant rise in public spending last month has resulted in a budget deficit of ₱178.6 billion, a 85 percent increase year-on-year from ₱96.2 billion.

Meanwhile, public spending remained below the ₱2.684 trillion target in January to September 2019 by two percent to ₱2.627 trillion, but the year-to-date figure was already a 5.5 percent improvement compared with ₱2.49 trillion in the previous year.

But the treasury expressed confidence that spending will attain its goal this year, citing that 71.2 percent of the ₱3.77 trillion full-year program was already disbursed at end-September despite the budget delay and an earlier election ban.

In the first nine-months, operating expenditures, which included infrastructure spending, rose five percent to ₱2.333 trillion from ₱2.218 trillion in the same period in 2018.