Gov’t incurs P23-B budget deficit in Jan.

Published March 17, 2022, 1:07 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The national government posted a bigger budget deficit in the first month of the year owing to higher interest payments, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed.

The government incurred a P23.4 billion fiscal gap in January 2022, higher by 66.3 percent compared with P14.1 billion in the same month last year.

“The fiscal performance for the period reflects a 9.70 percent growth in public expenditures alongside a 6.65 percent increase in revenue collection,” the Treasury said in a statement on Thursday, March 17.

During the month, expenditures amounted to P301.5 billion, an increase of P26.7 billion from P274.8 billion a year earlier.

Based on the Treasury data, the uptick in spending was primary driven by interest payments (IP), which jumped 34.4 percent, or P18.5 billion, to P65.6 billion from P47 billion in the previous year.

IP accounted for 23.57 percent of revenue and 21.74 percent of expenditures, up last year’s 18.04 percent and 17.11 percent, respectively.

Other expenditures, meanwhile, rose 3.6 percent or P8.1 billion from P227.8 billion to P235.9 billion last January.

Government revenue, on the other hand, improved 10.5percent to P278.1 billion from P260.7 billion in January 2021.

Bulk of the total revenue, or 92 percent , was from taxes amounting to P255.3 billion while non tax collections of P22.8 billion made up the remaining balance.

Tax haul by the Bureau of Internal Revenue for the month was at P195.8 billion, 7.48 percent better against the P182.2 billion actual collections made in January last year.

Similarly, the P58.3 billion collected by the Bureau of Customs for the first month of the year improved by 23.43 percent from P47.3 billion in the same period a year ago.

Income collected and generated by the Treasury bureau stood at P10.9 billion, declining by 42 percent year-on-year.

“The contraction was attributed to the high base effect of dividend remittances of the National Transmission Corp. and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. in January 2021, which remitted P8.3 billion and P1.0 billion, respectively,” the Treasury said.

January collections from other offices, including privatization proceeds and fees and charges, amounted to P11.9 billion, up eight percent from last year’s outturn of P11.0 billion.

Netting out the interest payments in the expenditures, the national government recorded a primary surplus of P42.2 billion in January, 28 percent higher than P33 billion in the previous year.