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Budget deficit rose to P59.5b in March

The government incurred a budget deficit of P59.5 billion in March, up by 1.83 percent from the P58.4-billion deficit recorded in the same month last year, data from the Treasury show.

This brought the first-quarter deficit to P74 billion, lower by 18 percent or P16.2 billion from P90.2 billion a year ago.  This was also 77.7 percent behind the P332.9-billion deficit program for the period.

Government revenues rose 19.58 percent in March to P273.7 billion from P228.9 billion in the same month last year on higher dividend from state-owned corporations.  First-quarter revenues increased 12.72 percent to P775.2 billion from P687.7 billion a year earlier.

“Broken down, tax revenues accounted for 80 percent of revenues for the first quarter while 20 percent came from non-tax collections which more than doubled from last year due to the early remittance of dividends from government owned- and –controlled corporations in line with the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” the Treasury said.

Total collections in the first quarter also exceeded the program of P660.1 billion by 17.43 percent or P115.1 billion.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s collection declined 10.67 percent or P15.7 billion in March to P131.7 billion from the prior year’s outcome of P147.4 billion.

“The downturn for the period was attributed to the imposition of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. BIR’s Q1 2020 collection of P468.8 billion also narrowly improved from Q1 2019 but was still higher by 3.26 percent compared to its P454 billion target,” the Treasury said.

Collections by the Bureau of Customs also dropped 9.43 percent in March to P44.6 billion from P49.3 billion on slower economic activity caused by the pandemic and ECQ measures.

BOC achieved a modest year-on-year increase of 2.43 percent in the first quarter, although it fell short of the target by 3.16 percent or P4.7 billion.

Income collected by the Bureau of the Treasury in March climbed to P77 billion, or P64.9 billion more than last year’s earnings.

“The huge increase for the month was driven by early dividend remittance and higher collection of interest on advances to GOCCs as well as income from BSF investments. BTr’s aggregate revenue as of Q1 2020 has likewise significantly increased to P111.2 billion, three times higher compared to the Q1 2019 achievement,” the agency said.

The Treasury exceeded its full-year target of P82.3 billion by P28.9 billion or 35.17 percent mainly on account of higher dividend remittances and interest on advances to GOCCs which have both exceeded full-year targets by P63.4 billion and P7.4 billion, respectively.

Topics: budget deficit , Bureau of Treasury , Bureau of Internal Revenue , Bureau of Customs
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