Gov’t borrowed P448.86 B from foreign and local sources in 2019 –COA

Published January 13, 2021, 6:52 PM

by Ben Rosario

With national government debt increasing by an average of 5.74 percent annually during the pre-pandemic years of 2009 to 2019, a spike in foreign and local borrowings from 2019 total of P7.43 trillion threatens the country as a result of the devastating effects of the COVID pandemic to public health and the economy.

This, as the Commission on Audit reported a 6.15 percent hike in the total borrowings in 2019 or from P7.293 trillion in 2018 to 7.743 trillion the following year.

In the recently released 2019 annual financial report, COA disclosed that the national government’s 2019 borrowings from both foreign and local sources reached P448.86 billion.

According to COA  over the past ten years, national government debt “continuously increased” with an average rate of 5.74 percent each year.

While the audit agency has yet to complete its 2020 financial report, economic experts already expect bigger increases in foreign and local debts as government moved last year to shore up the economy that was plagued by the COVID 19 crisis.

COA disclosed that domestic borrowings increased by P350.79 billion in 2019, higher by about 7.34 percent compared to the 2018 debt, due to the floatation of T-bills and issuance of T-bonds with maturity period of 3, 5, 7, 10 and 20 years.

“Foreign borrowings increased by P98.07 billion or 3.90 percent over the previous year’s P2.515 trillion,” the audit agency said.

Commitment fees or charges imposed by the lender to a borrower for unused credit lines or unreleased loans, for 2019 reached P240.90 million, lower than the P243.01 million paid by government in 2018.

The Department of Public Works and Highways registered the highest amount of commitment fees at P107.70 million in 2019, higher than the 2018 total of 77.87.

It is followed by the Department of Finance, P32.07 million; Department of Transportation, P29.9 million; Department of Social Welfare and Development, P25.11 million; Department of Agrarian Reform, P21.66 million;  National Irrigation Administration, P10.33 million, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources, P3.13 million.