Govt budget surplus places the PHL in ‘fiscal sweet spot'
The national government posted a surplus of P2.523 billion in August, lower than the year-ago surplus of P9.220 billion, but still putting the Philippines in a "fiscal sweet spot,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said Wednesday.
The August surplus was a turn around from the July deficit of P39.249 billion.
The eight-month fiscal position of a deficit of P71.208 billion is still way below the full-year deficit ceiling of P279 billion or 2.6 percent of GDP.
“With this, the Philippines continues to be in a fiscal sweet spot, generating wide fiscal space to stimulate the economy and to spend on key development projects, with the P71.208 billion deficit as of August well below the third quarter program deficit of P183.343 billion,” Purisima said.
Purisima attributed the August surplus to 4.2 percent year-on-year growth in revenues and a 10.4 percent growth in expenditures.
The 4.2 percent growth comes to P129.408 billion compared to P124.148 billion the year before.
Of the amount, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) raised P96.756 billion, 10 percent higher than the previous year’s P87.928 billion.
The Bureau of Customs collected P22.632 billion or 2.2 percent compared to the P22.152 billion it raised in the same month last year.
On the other hand, the Bureau of the Treasury generated only P2.970 billion in revenues in August, 34.1 percent lower than the P4.504 billion recorded a year ago.
Revenues from other offices, meanwhile, amounted to P7.050 billion during the month, also lower by 26.3 percent compared to the P9.564 billion recorded a year ago.
Meanwhile, expenditures in August improved to P126.885 billion from P114.928 billion disbursed a year ago.
However, excluding interest payments, disbursements reached P107.069 billion, 13.9 percent higher than the P94.022 billion recorded a year ago. The 13.9 percent growth is slower than the expenditures growth rate in July of 18.5 percent.
Purisima expressed hopes that Congress would finally approve the sin tax and the rationalization of fiscal incentives measures that the Aquino administration is pushing to sustain the improvement in the government’s fiscal health.
“The department is keen to see the passage of its revenue-generating legislative measures. The reform on excise taxes in tobacco and alcohol is one step closer to being enacted into law with the culmination of the Senate committee hearings. We expect the committee report to be finalized and sponsored for plenary debates and approval when session resumes in October,” Purisima said.
The House of Representatives already approved in June a sin tax measure that would raise P31.35 billion in incremental revenues in the first year of implementation. The Senate Ways and Means Committee, for its part, has concluded hearings on various sin tax measures filed in the Senate and is expected to come out with a report on October 8.
“On the rationalization of fiscal incentives,” Purisima said, “The government hopes to endorse a draft bill to the Senate by mid-October.”
Furthermore, he said the Finance department is working with the Mining Industry Coordinating Council in order to draft legislation revising the fiscal regime on mining can be introduced in Congress at the soonest possible time. — DVM, GMA News
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