Gov’t budget deficit widens in Oct.

Published November 25, 2021, 2:44 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Duterte administration’s budget deficit widened in October owing to higher spending.

The Bureau of the Treasury reported on Thursday, Nov. 25, that the national government incurred a P64.3 billion fiscal gap during the month, an increase of 2.9 percent compared with P61.4 billion in the same month last year.

Year-on-year, the October expenditures jumped 9.6 percent to P317.4 billion from P289.6 billion.

Interest payments also increased by 43 percent, with disbursements amounting to P31.5 billion in October.

Netting out the interest payments, the government recorded a primary deficit of P32.8 billion, 16 percent lower than the P39.3 billion in the same month last year.

Meanwhile, revenue collections improved 11 percent to P253.1 billion last month from P228.2 billion in a year earlier.

Of the total revenues, the Bureau of Internal Revenue contributed P162.1 billion, the Bureau of Customs at P55.5 billion, the Treasury bureau at P9 billion and other offices at P26.4 billion in October.

At end-October, the government registered a P1.203 trillion budget gap, higher by 28 percent compared with P940.6 trillion in the same month in 2020.

But despite the uptick, the actual budget deficit the government incurred was lower than the programmed P1.42 trillion for the period and accounted for only 66.8 percent of the revised P1.8 trillion full-year ceiling.

Expenditures in the first 10-months rose 11.5 percent to P3.693 trillion from P3.312 trillion. Revenues, on the other hand, improved 5.0 percent from P2.371 trillion to P2.490 trillion.

Earlier, the Department of Finance (DOF) reported that the ratio between the country’s economic output and the budget deficit incurred widened in the first nine-months of the year.

Data from the DOF showed that the Duterte administration’s fiscal gap inched up to 8.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in January to September 2021 from 6.9 percent in the same period last year.

But despite the uptick, the end-September fiscal gap level was still below the 9.3 percent of GDP cap set for 2021 by the the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC).

In the third-quarter alone, the government’s budget deficit ratio jumped to 9.2 percent from 7.6 percent in the same time in 2020.

The acceleration was primary driven by higher spending, with the government’s expenditure to GDP ratio increasing to 24.6 percent in the first three-quarters from 23.6 percent a year earlier.