The government posted a budget surplus of P86.9 billion in April, up by 88 percent or P40.6 billion from an excess of P46.3 billion year-on-year, as the delay in the passage of the 2019 national budget restricted the implementation new programs and projects.
ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa said the April excess was the “highest level of surplus… based on Bloomberg data posted from March 1994.”
The Treasury said the fiscal surplus in April reduced the cumulative budget deficit to P3.4 billion, far lower than P105.9 billion on year.
“In a year that the government targeted a substantial 3.2 percent deficit to GDP target, spending has taken a backseat in a big way and was a key reason for the first-quarter snafu,” Mapa said in a report.
But he said growth was seen to recover and zoom back to the 6-percent region with government spending seen to pick up. Gross domestic product growth in the first quarter slowed to a four-year low of 5.6 percent from 6.5 percent a year ago and 6.3 percent a quarter ago.
“With government set to pick up where they left off and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas priming rates for growth mode, the one-off blip of the April budget surplus will likely revert to deficits as the administration pushes on with its ‘Build, Build, Build” agenda,” Mapa said.
President Rodrigo Duterte in April finally signed the P3.7-trillion national budget for 2019 after an impasse between the two houses of Congress.
Government revenues in April reached P308.7 billion, up by just P1.1 billion or 0.4 percent from last years’ collections. Revenues of P996.4 billion in the first four months of 2019 were also higher 7.4 percent on year.
Tax collections contributed 90.8 percent of the total, while non-tax sources accounted for 9.2 percent.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue attained a 1.2-percent modest increase in its April collections of P235.5 billion. The amount improved BIR’s year-to-date revenues to P703.7 billion, up 7.3 percent from P655.7 billion on year.
The Bureau of Customs collected P51.7 billion for the month, notching a 10.4-percent double-digit increase from last year’s achievement.