The national government’s budget deficit more than doubled last month amid lower revenues and higher spending, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed.

The government incurred a fiscal gap of P191.4 billion in March, higher by 167 percent compared with P71.6 billion in the same month last year, the treasury reported on Tuesday (April 27).

(BLOOMBERG / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO)

According to the treasury, the budget deficit surged after non-tax revenues dropped due to lower dividend remittances from state-owned companies.

The government raised only P26.1 billion in non-tax revenues last month, down by 67 percent year-on-year from P84.1 billion.

“The drop was attributed to dividend remittances which declined by P51 billion relative to last year’s influx due to the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” the treasury said in a statement.

The bureau also cited that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., the government’s third largest revenue generating agency, remitted lower contribution to the state coffers.

Meanwhile, the government’s tax revenues went up by seven percent to P190.1 billion in March from P177.5 billion due to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs improved collections.

The BIR, the government’s main tax agency, collected P133.4 billion from P131.7 billion a year ago, while Customs’ tax haul rose 22.5 percent to P54.7 billion from P44.6 billion in March 2020.

Expenditures, on the other hand, jumped 22 percent to P407.6 billion last month from P333.2 billion in the previous year.

The treasury said spending was buoyed mainly by the disbursements for the infrastructure projects, as well as for the various social welfare programs of the government.

The continuing implementation of the Bayanihan II for initiatives such as the rice resiliency and health programs also contributed significantly to the strong spending performance in March, the treasury added.

The March fiscal gap bought the government’s first three-month deficit to P321.5 billion, nearly four times more compared with only P86.2 billion in the same month last year.

Based on the treasury report, revenues declined by 8.7 percent in January to March 2021 to P696.5 billion from P763.1 billion, while expenditures went up by 20 percent to P1.018 trillion from P849.2 billion.

In 2021, the government has set its budget deficit at a record P1.78 trillion to cover efforts on health, socioeconomic recovery measures, and infrastructure projects.

The budget deficit assumption is equivalent to 8.9 percent of the gross domestic product.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/04/27/budget-gap-hits-p191-b-in-march/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=budget-gap-hits-p191-b-in-march)