Increased revenue haul allowed the Duterte administration to narrow its budget deficit in May this year, the Bureau of the Treasury reported on Tuesday, June 22.

The national government trimmed its budget gap by 0.91 percent to P200.3 billion from P202.1 billion in May last year after revenue collections rose at the much faster pace than expenditures.

The May fiscal performance brought the government’s first five-month deficit to P566.2 billion, marginally higher by 0.72 percent compared with P562.2 billion in the same period last year.

Total revenues went up by 69 percent to P252.4 billion in May from P151.5 billion in the same month in 2020. For the five-month period, collections grew 13 percent to P1.245 trillion billion.

“The improvement is due to low base effect from the limited operations of government collecting offices caused by the strict quarantine protocols last May 2020,” the treasury said in a statement.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue posted 60 percent growth in collections to P183.7 billion during the month, bringing the cumulative amount to P872.4 billion.

Moreover, the Bureau of Customs generated P48.6 billion in May leading to P249.6 billion in the first five months.

In addition, the Bureau of the Treasury generated P12.4 billion during the month and for a five-month cache of P60.8 billion.

On the other hand, revenues from other offices, including dividends from government corporations, more than doubled to P9.7 billion in May, bringing its end-May total to P51.6 billion.

On the expenditure side, the national government saw spending grow 29 percent to P456.7 billion in May from P353.6 billion in the same period last year.

Total spending in January to May jumped 8.8 percent from P562.2 billion to P566.2 billion.

The treasury said the sizable increase in spending was due to disbursements for the capital outlay projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways, as well as banner education and health programs of the Department of Educations and Department of Heath.

Releases to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. or PhilHealth, for the health insurance premiums of senior citizens, and to local government units for the barangay development program also boosted spending, the bureau said.

Interest payments rose by 57 percent, with disbursements amounting to P28.9 billion in May alone.

Netting out the interest payments, the government recorded a primary surplus of171.4 P billion, or P566.2 billion in the first five-months of the year.

Source: Manila Bulletin (