Gov’t borrowings breach P2 T in August

Published September 28, 2020, 5:00 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

Government borrowings breached the P2 trillion mark in August this year as the Duterte administration needed funds to bridge the gap between its dwindling revenues and required spending level amid the coronavirus-induced recession.

Data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed that total government financing soared by 202 percent in January to August this year to P2.469 trillion from P816.27 trillion in the same period last year.

Bulk of the borrowings were sourced from the local market with P1.96 trillion, composed of P827.12 billion retail treasury bonds, P447.8 billion long-dated IOUs, P385 billion Treasury bills and a P300 million loan from the central bank.

The end August domestic financing was 263 percent higher than the P540.72 billion in the previous year.

The government also borrowed P509.7 billion from foreign creditors in the first eight months of the year, up by 85 percent compared with P275.55 billion a year ago.

Of the total offshore borrowings, P306.53 billon were raised through program loans, while P118.73 billion were proceeds from the sale of global bonds, and P67.33 billion from the euro debt markets.

The government also borrowed P17.09 billion in project loans during the period.

In August alone, the national government borrowed P612.91 billion from domestic and foreign creditors, higher by 701 percent compared with P76.52 billion in the same month in 2019.

Last month, local financing stood at P584.37 billion, an increase of 1,869 percent from only P29.67 billion a year ago. Bulk of which were retail treasury bonds with P516 billion, followed by short-term debt notes worth P38.03 billion and bonds with P30 billion.

On the other hand, foreign borrowing in August declined by 39 percent to P28.54 billion from P46.85. billion in the previous year. There were P26.5 billion worth of program loans release and P2.04 billion project loans.

For 2020, the national government plans to borrow P3 trillion from domestic and foreign creditors to finance the Duterte administration’s fiscal deficit ceiling of P1.815 trillion.

But Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said last week that the government may still borrow less than programmed for the rest of the year should the government’s two main tax agencies continue to exceed their downscaled collection targets.

While the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs were about 12 percent below their collections last year as of August, Dominguez noted that the two agencies have recently shown “positive developments.”

Data from the DOF showed the BIR and Customs have raised P1.527 trillion in January to August this year, higher than their revised collection target of P1.636 trillion by 7.2 percent, but lower than last year’s P1.863 trillion.