2018 budget deficit reaches P558.3 billion

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 22 2019 04:42 PM

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MANILA - The full year budget deficit for 2018 reached P558.3 billion or 3.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), slightly exceeding the government's 3-percent target, a cabinet official said Friday.

The full year revenue collection reached P2.85 trillion after "a shortfall in tax collection" was offset by strong non-tax revenues, data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed.

Government expenditures also spiked to P3.4 trillion pesos in 2018, attributed to President Rodrigo Duterte's Build, Build, Build program.

In an interview with ANC, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the deficit is "still manageable" despite missing the 3-percent target.

"I see this as a positive development rather than a negative development because our infrastructure spending exceeded our target," Diokno said. 

The budget chief said the government's "medium term" goal is to lower the current 40 percent debt-to-GDP ratio to 38 percent before the end of the Duterte administration. 

"We plan to outgrow our debt, meaning the economy will grow much faster than debt accumulation," Diokno said.