PH spending slows down again

The government returned to a budget surplus in August, after two straight months of deficits, as expenditures continued to fall below target.

Data from the Finance Department showed the national government posted a P15-billion surplus in August, following a P32.2-billion shortfall in July and P72.7-billion deficit in June.

This trimmed the fiscal deficit in the first eight months to P3.4 billion, much lower than P197.2-billion deficit target for the period.  The government capped the 2015 budget deficit at P283.7 billion.

Data from the Finance Department showed the August surplus was just half of the P29.9-billion surplus recorded in the same period last year and 45-percent below the P27.32-billion target surplus for the month.

“Sound fiscal management burnishes our credentials as one of Asia’s safest and strongest, a boon for our investment and growth prospects. The Filipino people benefit from a better fiscal position: the better we can resist the turns of the tides in volatile times, the better we can chart the path for our own future,” said Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.

Netting out interest payments, the primary balance in August yielded a surplus of P31.49 billion, or 41 percent below the P53.61 target primary surplus.

This brought the primary balance surplus in the first eight months to P222.24 billion.

Government revenues in August rose 4 percent year-on-year to P176.7 billion. Collections in the first eight months increased 13 percent to P1.4 trillion, but were 16 percent below the P209.34-billion target collection.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s collection in August rose 9 percent year-on-year to P138.52 billion, but P22 million or 14 percent short of the P160.69-billion target for the month.

The Bureau of Customs collected only P26.89 billion in August, or 7 percent lower than P29.06 billion a year ago.

Expenditures in August rose 15 percent to P161.61 billion, but still fell 11 percent short of the P182.02-billion target for the month.

“Steady expenditure growth from February to August allowed for year-to-date spending to increase 11 percent from last year,” the Treasury said.

Interest payments in August dropped 20 percent year-on-year to P16.5 billion from P20.6 billion last year mainly due to timing issues.

“August 2014 IP [interest payments] was driven up by July payments recorded in the following month causing a high-base effect for August 2015 year-on-year analysis. Nevertheless, total IP of P225.7 billion for January to August is 1 percent lower year-on-year,” the Treasury said.

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