Business News

Nat’l deficit widens in September as gov’t spends more on projects

MANILA – The national government’s budget deficit widened to P250.9 billion in September this year from P179.8 billion due to lower collections and higher spending on banner social protection programs.

Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) data on Wednesday showed that revenues during the month amounted to P255.4 billion, down from the PHP288.8 billion a year ago.

Year-to-date collection of P2.837 trillion, however, accounted for 76.10 percent of the total P3.729 trillion full-year program.

It was also higher by 6.79 percent year-on-year and surpassed the nine-month target by 2.98 percent or P82.1 billion.

Of the total, 89.5 percent or P2.541 trillion was generated through taxes, while the remaining balance of 10.45 percent came from non-tax sources.

National government expenditures, meanwhile, amounted to P506.3 billion in September 2023, 8.06 percent higher compared to the P468.6 billion recorded for the same period in 2022.

“This was mainly attributed to the implementation of banner social protection and health programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Department of Health, respectively, as well as capital outlay projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways,” the BTr said.

Year-to-date, disbursements amounted to P3.821 trillion, 4.12 percent higher than last year.

“The robust disbursement performance for the third quarter helped trim down government underspending to P40.9 billion or 1.06 percent of the program for the first nine months of the year,” the BTr added.

This compares to the P170.5 billion underspending recorded during the first semester.

For the first nine months of the year, the fiscal deficit narrowed to P983.5 billion, down by 2.89 percent year-on-year and 11.11 percent lower than the P1.106 trillion target.

The BTr said the year-to-date deficit figure is only 66 percent of the P1.499 trillion full-year program due to higher revenue and lower expenditure performance than programmed for the period. (Jeanne Michael G. Penaranda)