2010 budget deficit likely at P310-B - official

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2011 04:16 PM | Updated as of Jan 25 2011 12:58 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The government's budget deficit in 2010 was about P310 billion, smaller than the government's target of P325 billion ($7.3 billion), a senior government official said on Monday.

"Probably around P310 billion pesos," Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran told reporters, citing preliminary data.

This translates to about 3.9% of gross domestic product.

The government wants to lower the deficit to 3.2% of GDP, or P290 billion, this year.

Last week the chief of Bureau of Customs, which collects about one-fifths of government's total revenues, said they may not meet its P320 billion target this year due to the peso appreciation and scrapping of import tariffs on several commodities.

Lower revenues may impact on the fiscal health of the country, despite efforts of the government to reduce billions-worth of subsidies in transportation projects and social services.

The finance department is mulling the creation of a new unit to help shore up revenues.

The Aquino government had vowed not to increase taxes, but Finance Secretary Purisima said they may consider new tax measures in 18 months. - with Reuters