The government’s budget deficit narrowed to P61.5 billion in March from P74.4-billion a year ago, as revenue collections continued to outpace the growth of expenditures, the Bureau of the Treasury said Wednesday.
“The first-quarter fiscal gap stands at P83 billion, P30 billion lower than the amount recorded for the same period in 2016,” the Treasury said in a statement.
Revenue collection climbed 14 percent in March to P180.2 billion from a year ago. This brought total collection in the first quarter to P532.4 billion, up by 11 percent from the same period last year.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s collection increased 11 percent in March to P117.4 billion and 12 percent in the first quarter to P370.4 billion.
Customs’ collections rose 15 percent in March to P37.3 billion, net of the P803 million in tax refunds. This improved its first-quarter collection by 15 percentto P104.1 billion.
Income generated and collected by the Bureau of the Treasury amounted to P9.6 billion in March, down 14 percent from a year ago. First-quarter BTr income also declined 8 percent to P22.9 billion.
Meanwhile, government expenditures increased 4 percent in March to P241.7 billion and 4 percent in the first quarter to P615.4 billion.
Data showed interest payments accounted for 16 percent of total expenditures, down from 17 percent a year ago.
Netting out interest payments from expenditures, the government recorded a P30.2-billion primary deficit in March and P14.9 billion in the first quarter.
The national government ran a budget deficit of P353.4 billion in 2016, or 190 percent higher than P121.7 billion a year ago. The 2016 deficit, however, was 9 percent lower than the revised program of P388.9 billion for the year.