February 27, 2020 at 09:30 pm
Julito G. Rada
The government incurred a budget deficit of P660.2 billion in 2019, up 18.3 percent from the P558.3-billion shortfall in 2018, driven by a 57.83-percent increase in disbursements in December, the Bureau of the Treasury said Thursday.
Data from the Bureau Treasury showed the 2019 figure exceeded the programmed P620-billion budget deficit for the year.
“The acceleration [in disbursements] brought full-year government spending to a year-over-year growth of 11.42 percent and 0.74 percent more than the program,” the Treasury said.
Disbursements reached P3.797 trillion in 2019, up P389.3 billion from the P3.408-trillion outlay in 2019. The figure was also P28.1 billion above the target.
Revenue collection increased 10 percent in 2019 to P3.137 trillion and fell 0.39 percent or P12.2 billion short of the P3.149-trillion program for the year.
“Expenditures sped up despite the delay in the approval of the 2019 budget as line agencies caught up with spending towards the latter part of the year. In particular, disbursements for the month of December surged by P181.1 billion from the same period last year to reach P494.4 billion backed by strong infrastructure spending of the DPWH, implementation of social protection programs and services of the DSWD, and personnel services expenditures with the grant of the Service Recognition Incentive, payment of pension and retirement benefits, as well as requirements for the creation and filling of positions in various agencies,” the Treasury said.
Productive spending (expenditures net of interest payments) reached P3.436 trillion, up by 12.34 percent or P377.6 billion from a year ago. Meanwhile, total debt interest payments reached P360.9 billion, up 3.34 percent or P11.7 billion over 2018, but still 9.68 percent below program, generating P38.7 billion in savings.
“The increment in interest payment was due to coupon payments for outstanding debt as well as foreign exchange and LIBOR rate adjustments. Nevertheless, December interest payment of P29.1 billion decreased marginally by 0.31 percent compared to 2018,” the Treasury said.
Interest payment as a percentage of revenue and expenditures declined to 11.50 percent and 9.50 percent from 12.25 percent and 10.25 percent a year ago, respectively, highlighting affordability and sustainability in the country’s debt and borrowing operations.
The Treasury said that net of interest payments, the government achieved a P299.4-billion primary deficit for 2019, or 43.21 percent higher than the primary balance in 2018 and 35.81 percent above program. Meanwhile, the December primary deficit of P222.0 billion exceeded the primary balance a year ago by P170.2 billion.
It said tax revenues in 2019 increased 10.21 percent to P2.827 trillion, making up 90 percent of total collections. Meanwhile, the remaining 10 percent came from non-tax sources which also grew by 8.91 percent to P309.7 billion.
Revenue collection rose 4.77 percent in December to P243.3 billion from the previous year’s outturn of P232.2 billion.
Revenue effort went up to 16.86 percent from 16.36 percent in 2018 and exceeded the program of 16.51 percent. Meanwhile, the tax effort of 15.19 percent was lower than the goal of 15.49 percent but higher than the previous year’s 14.72 percent.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue recorded an 11.46-percent improvement in full-year collection of P2.175 trillion. However, BIR’s performance was still behind by 4.22 percent compared to the P2.27-trillion program.
“While percentage taxes grew significantly, the lower revenue from the excise tax on fuel and sugary drinks partly caused the lower-than-programmed collection of the agency. BIR collection of P162.6 billion in December was up 7.78 percent or P11.7 billion from the same period last year,” it said.
The Bureau of Customs’ net revenue take went up 6.27 percent to P630.3 billion, but still fell short of the program by 4.65 percent.
“The shortfall is mainly attributed to peso appreciation and lower importation. Nevertheless, BOC’s full-year gross revenue totaled P640.0 billion, inclusive of the P9.7 billion tax refund paid to claimants. However, the P52.2 billion raised by the BOC for December contracted by 4.47 percent YoY or by P2.4 billion relative to 2018 collections,” the Treasury said.
The Bureau of the Treasury generated P146.5 billion in 2019, nearly double the program of P73.9 billion and 28.30 percent higher compared to the P114.2 billion achieved in 2018.