Gov’t budget deficit nears P1 trillion

Published November 25, 2020, 12:59 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Duterte administration’s budget deficit is nearing the P1 trillion mark in January to October this year as the government continued to struggle in raising revenues due to the coronavirus-induced crisis.

Data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed the national government incurred a P940.6 billion fiscal deficit in the first 10-months of the year, up by 170 percent compared with 348.3 billion in the same period last year.

Total revenues at end-October slid by 8.4 percent to P2.371 trillion from P2.588 trillion a year ago.

According to the Treasury, the lower revenue haul is owing to weak tax collections of the government.

Revenues of the government’s two main tax agencies contracted in January to October, dragging down the total tax revenues by 11 percent to P2.058 trillion from P2.328 trillion a year ago.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collections declined by 10 percent to P1.596 trillion, while the Bureau of Customs collected only P448.6 billion, lower by 15 percent year-on-year.

The drastic reduction in tax revenues, on the other hand, was slightly softened by higher non-tax collections, which grew by 20 percent to P313.1 billion from P261.4 billion in the previous year.

Meanwhile, government expenditures increased by 13 percent to P3.312 trillion in January to October from P2.938 trillion in the same period last year. Of that amount, P335 billion went to interest payments.

In October alone, the national government’s budget deficit stood at P61.4 billion, wider by 24 percent compared with P49.3 billion in the same month last year.

Revenue collections during the month decreased by 13 percent to P228.2 billion from P261.6 billion a year ago. Of that amount, tax revenues reached P203.8 billion, while non-tax income was at P24.4 billion.

Public spending, meanwhile, slowed by 6.8 percent in October to P289.6 billion from P310.8 billion in the previous year.

According to the Treasury, the lower expenditure was owing to based effect “of the one-off pension differential releases for the military and uniformed personnel in October last year as well as the expected lower capital outlays ding the year because of the pandemic.”