MANILA, Philippines - The government's budget deficit widened to P40.2 billion in March, 14 percent higher than year-ago figures.
For the first quarter of 2014, the budget shortfall reached P84.1 billion, 27 percent higher year-on-year.
The government said revenue collection in March increased by 14% to P129.3 billion. The bulk (88 percent) were from tax collections, while the rest (P15.8 billion) were from non-tax sources.
In March, the Bureau of Internal Revenue collected P82.2 billion, 10 percent higher than year-ago figures. For the January to March period, total BIR collections went up 8 percent to P264.7 billion.
The Bureau of Customs improved its revenue collection in March, rising 34 percent to P29.3 billion. This brought revenue collections in the first quarter to P86.5 billion, 26 percent higher than year-ago figures.
"The figures on the Bureau of Customs’ collections are quantitative proof that the changes we have laid out in the Bureau are indeed taking effect,” Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said in a statement.
Customs Commissioner Sunny Sevilla had taken over the agency in December and implemented reforms.
"Cash collections from January to October 2013, which was before the aggressive reforms at the Bureau, grew only 4.9% over the same period a year before. However, from November 2013 to March 2014, the time when the reform program at Customs had begun to stabilize, the year-on-year improvement spiked up to 23.9%," Purisima said.
The Bureau of the Treasury raised P7.8 billion in March, 9 percent lower due to a decline in National Government income remitted.
Meanwhile, government expenditures jumped 14 percent in March to P169.5 billion.
Interest payments grew 20 percent year-on-year to P30.8 billion, driven by domestic payments.