Lower 2010 budget deficit difficult says DoF


Posted at Jun 15 2010 04:41 PM | Updated as of Jun 16 2010 12:41 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Finance (DoF) said on Tuesday there is little room for the the government to lower the programmed P293.2 billion budget deficit despite the better-than-expected 7.3% gross domestic product  (GDP) growth in the first quarter.

Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said the projected P43.23 billion in additional revenue that assumes higher economic growth for the full year, will only compensate for the delayed sale of three-government assets.

DoF Secretary Margarito Teves said previously that the government can narrow the deficit target in 2010 due to the strong first quarter growth.

A source at the DoF said the government may trim the programmed P30 billion privatization revenue for the year to just only P7 billion.

"The P7 billion might just account for Food Terminal Incorporated (FTI)," the source said.

At the the current pace of the privatization program, Teves said the government is hard-pressed to meet the P30 billion target this year, but added the final decision is now in the hands of President-elect Benigno Aquino

With a new government taking over by the end of the month, the DoF was deferred the sale of big-ticket items such as FTI complex in Taguig City worth P7 billion to P9 billion, the 10% stake in Malampaya Deep Water Gas to Power Project valued at P17 billion, and the lease and development of Fujimi property in Tokyo for P3 billion.

Teves said the sale of Malampaya natural gas project, has to be reconfirmed by a new Philippine National Oil Company-Energy Corp. board.

Adverse market conditions prevented the DoF from pushing through with the sale of the state-owned assets last year.