Philippines Budget Surplus expanded to ₱67.3 Billion Php in May 2015


PHL budget surplus widens nearly 6 times in May

More Amid the pressing need to boost public spending to pump-prime the economy, government revenues continued to outpace expenditures for the second month this year.

The budget surplus expanded by almost six times to 67.3 billion Php in May from 11.8 billion Php a year earlier, figures released by the Department of Finance (DOF) on Monday showed. 

The amount widens the 52.6 billion Php surplus reported in April, bringing the budget balance to a surplus of 86.4 billion Php in the first five months of the year. In comparison, the government registered an 8.5- billion Php surplus in January to May last year.

Revenues expanded by 41 percent to 242.5 Php billion in May. In January-to-May, revenues were 16 percent higher at 922.2 billion Php, according to the DOF.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue raked in 128.5 billion Php while the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of the Treasury collected 26.7 billion Php and 11.0 billion. Other offices contributed P76.4 billion, reflecting the 60.1 billion Php of coconut levy-related remittances.

Government expenditures increased by 9 percent to 175.2 billion Php, including 20.6 billion Php in interest payments. But the amount represents only about 72 percent of the total revenues generated during the month.

In January to May, expenditures reached 835.7 billion Php, a 6 percent increase from a year earlier. Interest payments decreased by 2 percent to 136.9 billion Php, accounting for 16 percent of total expenditures.

"Various volatile events in the global landscape serve as stark reminders of the importance of the hard work of reform carefully sustained by prudent fiscal management. We continue to build ample safeguards protecting the country from shocks that pose risks to our upward trajectory," Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said. 

But economists, credit watchers and banks have cited slow government spending for the worse-than-expected performance of the Philippine economy this year.

Even the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) admitted that meeting the lower end of the government's growth target of 7 percent to 8 percent would be difficult given the slowdown in global demand.

The government must focus on intervention in the agriculture and industry sectors to sustain the Philippine economy, former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno told GMA News Online.

"To me, ang dapat talagang palalakasin mo, side-by-side, ay agriculture and industry – meaning manufacturing, construction and power.

"Why agriculture? Because a third of the workforce is in agriculture and more than half of the poor is in rural areas," Diokno said.

A modern agriculture sector could translate into cheaper food prices and subsequently benefit the poor, ease the demand for higher wages and make inputs to food manufacturing cheaper, he added. – VS, GMA News


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