MANILA, Philippines - The national government on Thursday said it posted a budget deficit of P34.2 billion in January, 75% wider than year-ago's P19.5 billion deficit.
This as the government increased spending for reconstruction in areas affected by super typhoon "Yolanda" and the earthquake last year.
Netting interest payments, the government posted a primary surplus of P22.2 billion in January.
"The Philippines’ fiscal performance figures in recent years are a manifestation of restored normalcy in meeting the expectations of the Development Budget Coordination Committee,” Finance Secretary Purisima said in a statement.
The government's revenue collection jumped 8% to P148.8 billion in January. Tax revenues, which make up 91% of the total revenues, surged 12%.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue's collections rose 10% to P104.2 billion in January, but missed the target. The Bureau of Customs reported 21% improvement in collections in January to P29.8 billion, as it implemented reforms and benefited from a depreciating peso.
On the other hand, the Bureau of Treasury's collections fell 19% to P7.5 billion due to lower income from managed funds and lower remittances of dividends on NG shares of stocks. However, the BTr still exceeded its P6.9 billion target for the month.
Meanwhile, disbursements for January rose 16% year-on-year to P183 billion. Of the amount, interest payments were recorded at P56.5 billion, contributing only 31% of spending. This was an improvement from the 35% recorded in January 2013.
"Through even more aggressive and prudent efforts in stamping out corruption, widening our tax base, and managing our liabilities, I believe this newfound confidence in the Philippines’ fiscal performance is something that we can sustain,” Purisima said.