MANILA: Faster growth in public spending against revenue generation resulted in a P27-billion budget deficit in October, although the government continued to underspend at the start of the fourth quarter.
Treasury data released yesterday showed that expenditures last October jumped 23 percent to P190 billion from P154.8 billion a year ago, although disbursements that month were 8-percent lower than the programmed amount of P205.6 billion.
It means that the government did not spend as much as it should on public goods and services in October.
At the end of the first 10 months, expenditures hit P1.82 trillion, up 13 percent from P1.61 trillion last year. End-October figures, however, showed that underspending persisted as total government spending during the period was 14-percent below the program of P2.11 trillion.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) nonetheless noted a “continuous improvement in the national government spending [last October], which yielded the second-highest year-on-year growth, resulting in the fifth month that we garnered double-digit growth in 2015.”
“Spending growth was brought about by increased funding for education, health, and infrastructure to improve the provision of public services and promote economic growth,” the DBM said in a statement.
Total revenues, meanwhile, rose 7 percent to P163 billion in October from P152.3 billion a year ago. As of end-October, revenues amounted P1.77 trillion, up 12 percent from P1.58 trillion last year.
The P27-billion deficit posted in October was wider by 50 percent than the P18-billion target for the month. However, the deficit of P52.6 billion at the end of the first 10 months was only 21 percent of the 10-month program of P247.5 billion.
Despite the robust growth in revenues, the bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Customs (BOC)—the country’s two biggest tax-collection agencies—again missed their respective targets in October.
In the case of the BIR, it grew its tax take last October by 14 percent to P115.8 billion from P101.8 billion a year ago. However, the largest tax-collection agency failed to match its October collections target of P128.4 billion, which was a tenth higher than the actual take.
So far this year, the BIR reached its monthly targets only in August as actual collections of P138.5 billion surpassed that month’s adjusted goal of P131.7 billion.
At the end of the first 10 months, the BIR increased its collections by 8 percent to P1.19 trillion from P1.1 trillion last year. The end-October total was 13-percent lower than the P1.37-trillion target.
As for the BOC, its revenues from import duties and other taxes in October slid by 5 percent to P32.5 billion from P34.2 billion a year ago, also short by 24 percent of the P43-billion goal.
In a preliminary report last month, the BOC noted that “12 out of 17 ports did not meet their targets as of the third week of October, especially the Port of Manila (off-target by 30 percent) and Batangas (off-target by 22 percent).”
As of end-October, the BOC’s haul totaled P300.7 billion, just a little higher than the P299.9 billion collected last year. The 10-month take was 16-percent below the P357.2-billion goal for the period.