The government’s budget deficit widened by 12.04 percent in March to P210.3 billion from P187.7 billion a year ago as revenues fell by nearly 12 percent and expenditures went down by 2.62 percent, the Bureau of the Treasury said Tuesday.
This brought the cumulative budget gap in the first quarter to P270.9 billion, lower by 14.51 percent compared to a year earlier.
Data showed that revenue collections in March amounted to P258.7 billion, down by 11.99 percent or P35.2 billion from P293.9 billion in the same month last year.
“Nevertheless, revenues for the three-month period still surpassed the P784.4 billion collected last year for the same period by 4.38 percent or P34.3 billion. Tax collection accounted for 87.89 percent or P719.5 billion of the total with non-tax revenue contributing P99.2 billion or 12.11 percent,” the Treasury said.
Collections by the Bureau of Internal Revenue declined by 17.27 percent in March to P141.0 billion on the impact of the transitory provisions of the Bureau’s Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 5-2023 in line with Section 37 of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law.
BIR’s collection in the first quarter reached P505.2 billion, topping the previous year’s achievement by 0.48 percent or P2.4 billion.
The Bureau of Customs raised P80.3 billion in March, up 13.51 percent or P9.6 billion from a year earlier. The total collections of P213.8 billion in the first three months represented a 13.40-percent or P25.3-billion improvement from the comparable period last year.
Income from the Bureau of the Treasury in March eased by 55.47 percent to P14.9 billion year-on-year on the high base effect of dividend remittances in 2022. Data showed that as of end-March, BTr revenues reached P39.0 billion, down by 19.94 percent from last year’s P48.7 billion owing to the same reason.
Non-tax collections from other offices including privatization proceeds and fees and charges increased to P22.0 billion in March from P16.7 billion last year with the remittance of the unutilized balance from the Unconditional Cash Transfer program.
The positive outturn for the period led to a higher cumulative revenue of P60.1 billion, up by 58.59 percent or P22.2 billion year-on-year.
Meanwhile, government expenditures in March declined by 2.62 percent or P12.6 billion year-on-year to P468.9 billion largely due to the lower national tax allotment shares of local government units and the timing of significant releases for some programs such as the Department of Transportation’s public utility vehicle service contracting program and fuel subsidy program.
This resulted in an overall expenditure of P1.1 trillion in the first quarter, slightly lower by 1.06 percent or P11.6 billion than a year ago, caused by lower interest payments in January.
March primary expenditures, net of interest payments, reached P408.0 billion, 4.22 percent or P18.0 billion below the previous year’s figure.
Primary expenditures in the first quarter totaled P947.6 billion, a slight decrease of 0.45 percent from P951.9 billion recorded in the same period in 2022.