File photo by Agence France-Presse
MANILA, Philippines – The national government incurred a surplus of P67.3 billion ($1.49 billion) in May, as revenue collections continued to outpace public spending.
The Aquino administration has been criticized for underspending, because public funds could have been used for infrastructure development in typhoon-torn areas in the country.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said last week that government disbursements in the second quarter are expected to show some improvements compared to the dismal performance in the first 3 months of the year.
"Certainly it will be much better than in the first quarter," Abad said in a press conference on the Department of Budget and Management's policies based on the recommendations in the IMF’s Fiscal Transparency Evaluation report.
The budget surplus in May is 472% higher than the P11.8 billion surplus recorded in the same period last year, data from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) showed Monday, July 20.
In May, government revenues jumped by 41% to P242.5 billion from the P172.2 billion registered in the same month in 2014.
Accounting for bulk of the revenue growth in May are collections by other offices which grew 7-fold from the 2014 level to P76.4 billion ($169 billion), mainly due to the P60.1 billion ($1.33 billion) coco levy-related remittance to the special account in the general fund.
The funds were proceeds from the sale of San Miguel Corporation Series 1 preferred shares including interest income, as these were transferred to the BTr in 2012 and held in escrow. (READ: Supreme Court stops coco levy executive orders)
The BTr also registered revenues amounting to P11 billion ($242.93 million), more than double the income it posted in 2014.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue posted a flat growth during the period, with collections amounting to P128.5 billion ($2.89 billion), while the Bureau of Customs' revenues fell by 7% from 2014 to P26.7 billion ($589.79 million).
Revenues in the 5-month period grew by 16% to P922.2 billion ($20.36 billion).
Government expenditures on the other hand rose by 9% in May to P175.2 billion ($3.87 billion).
Netting out interest payments, public spending grew by 13% from the previous year to P154.6 billion ($3.42 billion).
Expenditures saw an increase of 6% to P835.7 billion ($18.36 million).
As of end-May, the government incurred a fiscal surplus of P86.4 billion ($1.91 billion) – 915% higher than the P8.5 billion ($187.76 billion) surplus in January to May 2014.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the government is continuing to build ample safeguards protecting the country from shocks that pose risks to upward trajectory.
“Protecting our fiscal health over time enables everyday Filipinos to reap the dividends of higher and more durable growth," Purisima said in a statement. – Rappler.com
$1 = P45.27