By Chino S. Leyco
The national government’s budget deficit narrowed as growth in revenue generation outpaced expenditures, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed yesterday.
The fiscal gap stood at ₱49.3 billion last month, down 18 percent compared with ₱59.9 billion in the same period last year, the treasury reported.
Total revenues during the month increased by six percent to ₱261.6 billion from ₱246.8 billion a year ago, while expenditures amounted to ₱310.8 billion, up 1.4 percent from ₱306.6 billion.
Tax revenues, meanwhile, reached ₱237.5 billion, while non-taxes amounted to ₱24.1 billion in October.
The October fiscal deficit brought the government’s 10-month figure to ₱348.3 billion, down 20.5 percent compared with ₱438.1 billion in the same period last year.
Public spending at end-October also stood at ₱2.938 billion, higher by five percent from ₱2.796 billion, while revenues rose 10 percent to ₱2.589 billion from ₱2.358 billion a year before.
Earlier, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the economic managers were confident that the national government will hit its spending program this year despite by the setback caused by the delayed passage of the budget and the election ban.
Dominguez said the government was on track to disburse its ₱3.769-trillion budget for the year, noting the spending has already gained momentum in recent months particularly in September.
“To attain this target, the government needs to disburse ₱1.14 trillion or 30 percent this fourth quarter. Based on the updates of our main infrastructure agencies, we are confident that we are going to hit our spending target this year,” Dominguez told reporters.
President Duterte’s economic development cluster, chaired by Dominguez, last month met where discussions mainly focused on the ₱725-billion catch-up spending plan to compensate for the nearly fourth-month delay of the 2019 general appropriations.
As of September, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), headed by Secretary Mark A. Villar, reported to the EDC that ₱424.7 billion of the catch-up spending program were already disbursed.
Villar then assured the EDC members that the remaining ₱300.3 billion will be disbursed as planned in the final three-months of the year.
Dominguez particular noted that the DPWH is implementing reforms to effectively address right away issues and accelerate implementation of big ticket projects.