Gov't records 4-year high budget surplus in April

By Anna Leah Gonzales

May 29, 2023, 2:05 pm

MANILA – The national government posted a PHP66.8 billion budget surplus in April, the highest recorded in four years.
Bureau of Treasury (BTr) data released on Monday showed that the budget surplus was significantly higher than the PHP4.9 billion in April last year, and was the highest recorded since the PHP88.87 billion in April 2019.
Last month's surplus helped pull down the deficit for the first four months of the year which amounted to PHP204.1 billion, lower by 34.5 percent from the PHP311.9 billion budget gap incurred in the same period last year.
Revenue collections stood at PHP440.7 billion in April, higher by 26.6 percent from PHP347.9 billion in 2022.
For the first four months of the year, revenues amounted to PHP1.3 trillion, up by 11.22 percent from last year's PHP1.13 trillion.
Expenditures, on the other hand, went up by 9 percent to PHP373.9 billion from PHP343 billion which BTr attributed to the subsidy release to PhilHealth, larger capital expenditures of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Transportation (DOTr), as well as higher interest payments for the month.
Total expenditures for the four-month period reached PHP1.5 trillion, higher by 1.33 percent from last year's PHP1.44 trillion.
In a comment, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort said the budget surplus in April may have to do with the seasonal increase in tax collections as well as improved tax revenue collections as the economy reopened further.
"Disciplined spending by the government also helped improve the country’s fiscal performance recently, thereby partly adding to the latest budget surplus," he said.
Ricafort said faster economic growth also increased the government tax revenue base.
“Fiscal reform measures such as rightsizing of the government and other reform measures to further reduce corruption would help narrow the country’s budget deficit, further bring down the debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio from 61 percent as of first quarter and even to below the international threshold of 60 percent to make overall fiscal management and debt management more sustainable over the coming years and generations," he added. (PNA)