Gov’t borrows record P2.74 T in 2020

Published March 1, 2021, 7:00 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Duterte administration borrowed a record P2.74 trillion last year to bridge the ballooning budget deficit induced by the coronavirus pandemic, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed.

The national government’s gross borrowings accelerated by 170 percent in January to December last year to P2.74 trillion from P1.015 trillion in the previous year. Bulk, or 73 percent, of the total financing was sourced domestically.

However, the government’s actual borrowings in 2020 were below the Department of Finance’s program of P3 trillion.

Based on the treasury data, total borrowings from local creditors reached P1.998 trillion, higher by 187 percent compared with P693.84 billion in 2019.

Of that amount, P833.64 billion were raised through the sale of retail treasury bonds, P701.7 billion in Treasury bonds, and P463.31 billion in Treasury bills.

The Duterte administration, meanwhile, tapped the overseas markets last year for P742.41 billion in funding support, an increase of 130 percent from P321.95 billion in the previous year.

The government’s program loans from the Philippines’ development partners accounted for half of the total offshore financing with P375.2 billion, followed by commercial borrowings with P250.8 billion.

Project loans and euro-denominated bond sale of the government cornered P49.08 billion and 67.33 billion of the foreign borrowings.

Despite the lower than programmed budget deficit, the treasury bureau reported last Friday, Feb. 26, that the national government incurred a record financing gap of P1.371 trillion in 2020.

The full-year budget gap is more than double compared with P660.2 billion in the previous year and equivalent to 7.63 percent of the country’s economy, as measured by its gross domestic product (GDP).

The latest deficit to GDP ratio, however, is lower than the 9.63 percent revised program, but much higher compared with the 3.38 percent registered in 2019.

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.

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.