Year-to-date balance registers a deficit of P25.5 billion
The National Government’s budget balance in September 2015 was at a deficit of P22.1 billion, bringing the year-to-date balance to a deficit of P25.5 billion.
The primary balance for the month was at a surplus of P8.0 billion, while year-to-date primary surplus registered at P230.2 billion, 2% higher than year-ago figures.
Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said, “While we continue to maintain our fiscal performance, piecemeal revenue eroding measures are fiscally unsustainable in the long run. Today, Filipinos live in a country hailed as one of the world’s brightest and safest in these uncertain times. But there is still a long road ahead of us.
The country is still at a tax to GDP level of 13.6% in 2014, far from our target of achieving at least a 16% tax to GDP ratio in 2016 to fund social commitments and other demands for public goods in the future.
We agree with the need to reform our tax system– but since the problems with it are structural in nature, we urge fiscal responsibility in considering tax reform in a comprehensive and holistic manner.”
Revenue growth sustains momentum
Total revenues for the month reached P164.1 billion in September, 6% or P9.5 billion higher than the year-ago figure. Meanwhile, total revenues for the period of January-September reached P1.61 trillion, reflecting a 13% growth year-on-year.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) hauled in P112.3 billion for the month, 6% wider than year-ago figures. This pulls year-to date collections of the BIR beyond the trillion-peso mark at P1.07 trillion, growing 8% or P78.4 billion from year-ago figures.
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) raised P32.7 billion in September, making January-September figures amount to P268.2 billion. Even as oil weighted average values of imported oil continue to sag with a 38% year-on-year decline in September, total customs collections for January to September still beat year-ago figures by 1%, propelled by the 11% improvement in collections from non-oil commodities for the month.
Meanwhile, income from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) amounted to P8.0 billion for September, pushing the year-to-date total to P91.9 billion, 13% higher than year-ago figures. The Bureau of the Treasury is still P31.2 billion above its full year 2015 program.
Expenditures register 4th consecutive month of double-digit growth
National Government disbursements for the month totaled P186.2 billion, expanding 17% year-on-year. For the period of January to September, expenditures reached P1.63 trillion, reflecting an increase of 12% from year-ago levels.
Year-to-date, interest payments amounted to P255.8 billion, P27.7 billion lower than programmed. Interest payments for January-September 2015 accounted for 16% of expenditures, improving on the 18% share recorded last year.
“We are encouraged by the close collaboration we have between the executive and legislative branches in safeguarding our fiscal future. We have come too far; we cannot mistake our gains for having reached the finish line. While there have been significant improvements in our budget allocation for social services for example, we still lag behind most of our ASEAN neighbors in investments in health and education. We only started accelerating our gains a few years ago, and we have a lot of catching up to do,” Purisima said.
Infrastructure spending has gone up from 1.8% of GDP in 2010 to 4.3% in 2015 and eventually 5% in 2016. Meanwhile, over the same period, budgets for social services went up by 471%, basic education by 79%, health by 211%. Still, there is a long way to go: as of 2013 the Philippines ranks only 7th in terms of amount of available fiscal space allocated for education and health, with Vietnam leading the way having 6.6% average education spending to GDP (PH at 2.7%) from 2006-2012 and 3.66% health spending to GDP (PH at 1.39%) in 2013.
“Our story of change is an ongoing process in a continuum. Sustaining our momentum requires balanced and responsible policies from courageous leaders who consider the entire picture, no matter which political season is in bloom,” Purisima added.