By Chino S. Leyco
The administration incurred a much lower budget deficit in February this year owing to slower public spending, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed yesterday.
The Treasury bureau reported that the national government’s fiscal gap reached P23.7 billion in February, down by 31 percent compared with P34.6 billion in the same month last year.
During the month, government expenditures grew by only one percent to P175.6 billion from P173.6 billion in the previous year.
The growth in expenditures was attributable to higher interest payments, which amounted to P24.2 billion, up by 14 percent year-on-year from P21.3 billion.
Other expenditures, which include infrastructure spending, declined in February by one percent to P151.3 billion from P152.3 billion in the same month a year ago.
Meanwhile, total government revenues jumped by nine percent during the month to P151.8 billion from P139 billion in the previous year.
Of the total, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) contributed P138.8 billion, while the Bureau of Customs shared P105.9 billion, and other offices with P2.1 billion.
The BIR, Customs and other offices registered an increase in revenue take by 12 percent, 14 percent and three percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, non-tax revenue collection of the Treasury dropped by eight percent in February to P5.3 billion from P5.8 billion in the same month a year before.
The government registered a P500-billion primary surplus in February this year, data from the Treasury revealed.
In the first two-months of 2017, the government’s fiscal position stood at a deficit of P21.5 billion, lower by 44 percent compared with P38.1 billion in the same period in 2016.
At end-February, the total government expenditures reached P373.7 billion, higher by four percent from P359.3 billion in the previous year.