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NG incurs ₱274-B deficit in April

By CHINO S. LEYCO

The National Government (NG) posted a hefty budget deficit last month, a stunning reversal of the surplus it had a year ago, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed yesterday.

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Following the devastation wrought by the coronavirus, the Duterte administration saw its budget shortfall skyrocket to ₱273.9 billion in April, a significant reversal for the national government’s ₱86.9-billion surplus in the same month in 2019.

According to the Treasury, the emergency spending last month took a heavier toll on state coffers after revenue collection was adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Total revenues decreased by 39 percent to ₱187.8 billion in April from ₱308.7 billion in the same month last year. Of that, income from taxes fell by 57 percent year-on-year to ₱124.9 billion from ₱288.8 billion.

The treasury data showed that the government’s two main tax agencies registered high double-digit contraction in collections during the month.

The Bureau of Internal Bureau’s tax haul declined by 61 percent to ₱90.5 billion, while the Bureau of Customs suffered a 33 percent drop in income to ₱34.4 billion.

“The slower outturn was attributed to the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, which was also implemented in other provinces, and the extension of deadlines for the filing and payment of income and other taxes due for the month amid the pandemic crisis,” the Treasury said.

The staggering loss of tax revenue, however, was slightly compensated by non-tax income, which increased by 216 percent to ₱62.8 billion from ₱19.9 billion a year ago due to cash remittances from state-owned corporations.

Meanwhile, government spending doubled last month after business closures and work suspension forced the state to subsidies Filipino families whose lives were greatly affected by the quarantine measures.

Total expenditures jumped by 108 percent to ₱461.7 billion from ₱221.8 billion in the same month last year.

“Spending was boosted by the releases of funds for the implementation of the first tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) Program,” the Treasury said.

“Bayanihan Grant to Provinces, Cities, and Municipalities, and other recovery and rehabilitation measures of the National Government under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act [also pushed the expenditures],” the agency added.

The April spending brought the national government’s fourth-month total to ₱1.311 trillion, up 31 percent compared with ₱999.8 billion in the same period last year.

The government’s total revenue take, mean¬while, declined at end-April by 3.3 percent to ₱963 billion from ₱996 billion in the previous year.

The Duterte administration incurred a budget deficit of ₱206.1 billion in January to April, a significant jump against ₱3.4 billion gap in the same period in 2019.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://business.mb.com.ph/2020/05/27/ng-incurs-%e2%82%b1274-b-deficit-in-april/)

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