ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Spending to speed up in Philippines
The Aquino administration’s budget deficit last month shot up past the first-semester tally amid signs the government is ramping up spending.
In a statement, Department of Finance Secretary Finance Cesar Purisima said the budget deficit in July stood at P26.482 billion, or 50 percent higher than the P17.231 billion incurred in the first six months of the year.
Despite the uptick, the July fiscal gap brought the seven-month deficit to P43.713 billion, or 77 percent below the P191.2-billion programmed for the period.
Government revenues in July inched up by nearly 4 percent to P106.963 billion from a year ago, while the seven-month tally rose at a faster 13 percent to P788.603 billion.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue saw its tax collections rise 15 percent year-on-year to P73.8 billion last month, raising its seven-month tally to P531.8 billion.
The Bureau of Customs’ tax take of P21.283 billion in July was four percent below last year’s P22.2 billion. Similarly its seven-month collections of P149.8 billion was 2 percent lower than last year’s P152.9 billion.
Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said the government’s determination to speed up spending to make up for the weak performance during the first half is now bearing fruit.
“Our interventions to speed up spending and implementation of programs and projects are now taking effect. We’re seeing that departments and agencies will catch up significantly with their targets in the last five months of the year,” he said.
The DBM chief attributed the improved spending performance on the higher use of disbursement authorities through Notices of Cash Allocation, which rose to 99.5 percent in July from 91.4 percent at end-June.
Fiscal data however showed that last month’s spending of P133.44 billion was 10 percent below last year’s P135.60 billion.
Consequently, the seven-month expenditures of P832.316 also was 10 percent below last year’s P924.435 billion.
Excluding interest payments, the government recorded a primary surplus of P131.988 billion in the first seven months, a reversal from the primary deficit of P39.961 billion last year.
As of July, the DBM has already released allotments worth P1.298 trillion, or 79 percent of the P1.645-trillion General Appropriations Act of 2011.
The Aquino administration plans to incur a budget deficit of P283 billion this year, lower than the original goal of P300 billion, or 3.2 percent of gross domestic product. GDP is the amount of final goods and services produced in the country.
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