NG incurs P1.371-trillion budget deficit in 2020, still below ceiling

Published February 26, 2021, 4:11 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The national government’s budget deficit fell below the Duterte administration’s ceiling last year after public spending missed its target while revenues breached the revised full-year goal, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed.

Fiscal gap of the national government settled at P1.371 trillion in January to December last year, lower by 24 percent against the P1.815 trillion program. However, the actual amount is more than double compared with P660.2 billion in the previous year.


The 2020 budget deficit is equivalent to 7.63 percent of the country’s economy, as measured by its gross domestic product. The latest ratio is lower than the 9.63 percent revised program, but much higher compared with the 3.38 percent registered in 2019.

“Nonetheless, this is broadly in line with the 7.6 percent of GDP deficit outlook reported during the 178th Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) Meeting in December 2020,” the treasury said in a statement.

The treasury data showed that expenditures grew by 11 percent to P4.227 trillion in 2020 from P3.798 trillion a year ago. But against the P4.335 trillion program of the government, the actual spending was short by 2.5 percent.

“Total disbursement for 2020 grew… owing to the implementation of various COVID-19 mitigation and recovery measures,” the treasury said.

 “Nonetheless, full-year spending improved from the performance during the first nine months of 2020, where disbursements fell below the program for the period by 7.5 percent or P246.2 billion,” the bureau added.

In the January to December, government revenues reached P2.856 trillion, above by 13 percent against the P2.52 trillion revised target set by the inter-agency DBCC. In 2019, revenues totaled P3.137 trillion.

In 2020, the Bureau of Internal Revenue collected P1.951 trillion, lower by 11 percent compared with P2.175 trillion in 2019. But the government’s main tax agency’s total revenue haul last year is 16 percent higher against its revised target of P1.686 trillion.

The Bureau of Customs, on the other hand, posted a 14 percent decline in collection last year to P537.7 billion from P630.3 billion in the previous year. The agency, however, surpassed its revised goal for 2020 of P506.1 billion by six percent.

In December alone, the national government incurred a budget deficit of P302.6 billion, up 20 percent compared with P251.1 billion in the same month in 2019.

Total public spending in the final month of 2020 increased by nine percent to P541.1 billion from P494.4 billion a year ago, while government revenues decreased by two percent form P243 billion to P238.5 billion.