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Gov't posts another budget surplus in May.

The national government posted a second straight monthly budget surplus in May, the first time in six years, due to the Aquino administration's continued anemic public spending and strong revenue collection.

Data from the Department of Finance (DOF) showed the government incurred a rare P11.78-billion budget surplus in May, a turnaround from the P13.16-billion fiscal deficit in the same month last year.

The last time the government incurred a budget surplus in the month of May was in 2008, when it registered a P7.02-billion excess. Last April, the Aquino administration also ended with a P36.8-billion spending allowance.

Corollary to the budget surplus in May, the data also showed that government expenditures dropped 4 percent year-on-year to P160.45 billion from P167.2 billion. Of that amount, P23.59 billion was used for interest payments, which increased by 41 percent from P16.7 billion in the same month in 2013.

Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, meanwhile, attributed the government's second straight month of budget surplus on the double-digit growth in collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs.

"In the month of May, we saw total revenues, tax revenues, BIR collections, and Customs collections expanding at double-digit growth rates. This signifies the third straight month of double-digit year-on-year growth for total revenues and the fifth straight month for Customs," Purisima explained.

In May, the government revenues totaled P172.23 billion, higher by 12 percent compared with P154.04 billion in the same month last year. Of that amount, the BIR contributed P128.27 billion, while Customs' cornered the P28.81 billion and the other offices, including the Treasury, shared P15.15 billion.

With the consecutive two months of surplus, the national government has reversed its budget deficit incurred in the first four months of the year, registering a P8.51-billion budget surplus for the January-May period.

The end-May budget surplus of the government also saw a reversal of the P42.84 billion fiscal deficit incurred in the same period last year.

In terms of spending, government expenditures in the first five-months of the year grew by only 5 percent year-on-year to P786.58 billion from P751.21 billion, while total revenues amounted to PP795.09 billion, higher by 12 percent compared with P708.37 billion in the same period last year.

In January to May this year, the government's interest payments accounted for 18 percent of the expenditures, which is higher by 18 percent compared with the same months in 2013.

"The national government continues to show proactive liability management and promote the sustainability of its debt portfolio, as manifested by the decreasing share of interest payments to government spending," Purisima said.

Earlier, the government reported that the Philippine economy grew by 5.7 percent in the first-quarter of the year, below the Aquino administration's target of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent target for this year.


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Title Annotation:Banking & Finance
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Jun 26, 2014
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