NG reports double-digit growth in disbursement of funds

THE national government (NG) reported double-digit growth in the disbursement of funds, not just in April when it posted a budget surplus, but also in the first four months, when public-sector spending similarly ramped up.

According to the Department of Finance (DOF), the disbursement of funds accelerated by 22 percent in April alone to P191.6 billion, and that disbursement activities in the year through April, likewise, expanded by 19 percent to P783.1 billion.

Hopefully, public-sector spending is sustained throughout the year and at a level consistent with the goal of incurring a budget shortfall equal more or less to 5 percent of local output, or  GDP to ensure continued economic expansion seen averaging 7 percent this year.

The NG  under President Aquino has been faulted for keeping a budget plan that placed a premium on prudence, rather than growth, such that the state of public infrastructures the past several years groaned under the weight of tons of neglect and abuse. It is hoped that ramped-up spending best indicated by serial deficits finally begins to address the inadequacy in the delivery of services, particularly on transport.

Data show NG having posted a small surplus of P55 billion in April, but that the first four months actually resulted to a budget shortfall totaling
P57.5 billion.

According to the DOF, the P55-billion surplus was made possible by the strong revenue-collection performance of government agencies in April.

“In a volatile world flirting with crisis after crisis, I believe the Philippines has worked and earned the right to be defiantly optimistic,” Cesar V. Purisima, secretary of finance, said in reaction.

Revenues for April reached to P246.6 billion, an increase of 18 percent, or P37.5 billion, compared to the level posted the same month the previous year, at only P209.1 billion.

The increase in April translates to a 7-percent year-to-date growth.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) reported collections amounting to P177.7 billion for April, equivalent to year-on-year growth of 10 percent. This was P16.9 billion better than collections of only P160.8 billion in the same month last year.  The agency’s year-to-date collection totaled P507.8 billion, or 9 percent higher than year ago, of only
P467.9 billion.

The collection performance of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in April represent a recovery from below-target outcomes from previous, as revenue collection grew by 16 percent to P32.7 billion. Year-to-date collection was up 2 percent, with P123.2 billion over the same period last year, when this totaled only P120.4 billion.

The income of the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) also bounced back from a contraction reported last month. Revenues were up 142 percent to P28 billion for April this year, from collections last year totaling only P11.6 billion. This was made possible by the receipt of P23 billion worth of dividend earnings on shares of stocks held by the government.

The January-to-April  BTr income amounted to P52.9 billion, up 7 percent from a year ago of only P49.5 billion.

Other offices exhibited a year-on-year contraction of 4 percent in April, resulting to total collection of P41.7 billion year-to-date.

Expenditures aggregated P191.6 billion for April, 22 percent more year-on-year compared to collections the same month of the previous year of only P156.5 billion.

Interest payments were down 6 percent year-on-year, but accounted for 8 percent of total expenditures. The four-month spending amounted to P783.1 billion, 19-percent better than the 2015 level of only P660.6 billion.

The NG reverted to a primary surplus totaling P69.8 billion in April, with interest payments from expenditures netted out. This brought the primary surplus to P59.9 billion year-to-date, which is 56 percent lower than primary surplus last year, totaling P135.4 billion.

“I am pleased to report a strong finish on both the revenue and expenditure sides of the Republic’s balance sheet. Consistently solid fiscal performance has put the nation on its firmest fiscal footing in history.

The aggressive expansion of fiscal space in a span of six  years has also funded the most intensive amount of investment the country has seen—fuel for Asia’s bright star to keep burning bright in these challenging times. I am highly confident that the next administration’s economic team has what it takes to improve and build on our gains moving forward,” Purisima said.


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