Dec 292014

The government posted a surplus in November as the decline in spending outpaced the slight drop in revenue collection during the month, the Department of Finance yesterday said.

According to the DOF, a surplus of P6.8 billion was registered in November, 582 percent higher than the P1 billion posted in the same month last year.

Even as revenue collection slipped by 4 percent to P158.2 billion in November from P165 billion last year, expenditures slid by a bigger 8 percent to P151.4 billion from P164 billion a year ago.

November’s surplus exceeded the P6.008 billion programmed for the month.

In January to November period, revenues maintained double-digit growth, posting an 11-percent rise in collections to P1.736 trillion from P1.566 trillion a year ago.

Government expenditures, meanwhile, registered a mere 5 percent increase in the first 11 months to P1.762 trillion from P1.677 trillion last year.

The end-November deficit stood at P26.8 billion, 76-percent lower than the P111.5 billion registered between January and November 2013.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The deficit as of end-November was way below the program of P238.294 billion for the 11-month period, reflecting anemic government spending on infrastructure and public services despite robust revenue collection.

For Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, the lower deficit was nonetheless a good thing.

“With the recent Moody’s credit ratings upgrade, as well as improved scores in the Millennium Challenge Corp. scorecard leading to our eligibility for a second compact, one thing is clear: the Philippines is in a virtuous cycle. Prudent fiscal management by the national government keeps us in this sweet spot, reaping rewards and raring to reach for more,” Purisima said in a statement.

In November alone, collections by the Bureau of Internal Revenue went down 4 percent year-on-year to P121.9 billion, but the end-November take was higher by 9 percent year-on-year at P1.22 trillion.

Collections by the Bureau of Customs last November declined by a faster 13 percent year-on-year to P24.7 billion, but the agency kept the double-digit growth during the 11-month period with a haul of P324.6 billion, up 16 percent year-on-year.

The Bureau of the Treasury’s revenues in November decreased by a tenth year-on-year to P3.4 billion, but end-November revenues grew by a fifth year-on-year to P90.5 billion.

“The quick-paced growth of year-to-date revenue leaves even more room for strategic government expenditures. With increased fiscal space to invest in health, education, infrastructure, and other social services, we are able to reap even more rewards for the Filipino people. Such is the virtuous cycle put into motion by this administration’s conviction that good governance spurs good economics,” Purisima said.

As for expenditures, interest payments last November were flat at P18.1 billion, while interests paid from January to November were 1-percent lower at P292.3 billion.

The DOF said end-November interest payments were below program, hence generating savings worth P27.6 billion for the government.

The share of interest payments to expenditures was likewise on a downward trend to 16.6 percent as of end-November, compared with 17.7 percent during the first 11 months of 2013. The DOF attributed the decline to “prudent liability management measures.”

“The continued decline in interest payments, apart from the substantial hauls pulled in by the revenue agencies, significantly expands our fiscal space and enables us to fuel more growth. Credit rating upgrades that respond to the government’s commitment to good governance and sound economic management, for example, lower our borrowing rates and free up more funds for more productive investments,” Purisima said.

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