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Budget surplus reaches P44.5b as spending falls

The government posted a budget surplus of P44.5 billion in January, or more than four times higher than the P10.2-billion surplus recorded a year ago, as revenues rose and spending fell following the failure of Congress to pass a new budget, data from the Bureau of the Treasury show.

“The surplus widened behind the year-on-year revenue expansion of 7 percent combined with disbursement contraction of 7 percent,” the Treasury said in a statement Monday.

Revenue rose 7 percent in January to P256.7 billion from P238.9 billion in the same month last year. Tax revenues accounted for 92 percent or P235 billion of the total, while the remaining 8 percent or P21.8 billion were from non-tax sources. 

The Bureau of Internal Revenue raised P185.1 billion in January, up 5 percent or P9.5 billion from P175.6 billion a year ago, with the increased excise tax on some products identified under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law.

The Bureau of Customs sustained its strong performance with an 18-percent growth over last year, with January collections of P48.4 billion. 

“The BOC managed to grow its collection on the back of process improvements implemented by the agency, such as tighter monitoring of imports and proper valuation of goods,” the Treasury said.

Income and revenue generated by the Treasury amounted to P9 billion, or 12 percent higher than the 2018 performance. 

Collections from other offices (non-tax) reached P12.8 billion, broadly similar to January 2018. 

Meanwhile, the January disbursements fell 7 percent to P212.2 billion year-on-year, pulled down by the delay in the approval of the national budget.

“The contraction in government spending resulted largely from the delays in the implementation of new government projects and salary adjustments due to the deferred passage of the 2019 GAA,” the Treasury said.

Interest payments grew 6 percent year-on-year to P45.9 billion. 

The higher interest bill was mainly due to the timing of payment for global bonds amounting to P1.2 billion which was paid in February last year and the upward adjustments in foreign exchange and interest rates. 

Interest payments represented 17.9 percent of revenues, down from 18.2 percent in January 2018. Meanwhile, interest payments as a percentage of expenditures rose to 21.6 percent from 19 percent recorded last year. 

Net of interest payments, the government’s primary surplus widened 68 percent to P90.5 billion from P53.7 billion.

Topics: Bureau of the Treasury , Budget , Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion , Bureau of Internal Revenue
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