Budget chief: Marcos gov’t on track to meeting deficit-to-GDP target

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 21) — The country's fiscal performance in the first three quarters put it on track to meeting its deficit-to-gross domestic product (GDP) goal for the year, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said on Monday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a forum organized by think tank Stratbase ADR Institute, the budget chief said she is “happy” with the way agencies have been spending to implement programs and projects.

The budget gap, as a proportion of GDP, was 6.5% in the three quarters ending September, versus the economic team's official target of 7.6% of total output.

“I saw the numbers, I think our deficit is just right there. It’s still 6.5%... we’re still within target,” Pangandaman said.

“I'm happy with that because at least the agencies now are trying to use the money, utilize it even better to implement the projects unlike before,” Pangandaman added.

That deficit ratio was 6.6% in the second quarter, and as agencies spend more against a backdrop of an economy growing at a better-than-expected clip of 7.6% in the third quarter that bodes well with higher tax revenues — the downtrend could be sustained while the government tries to further put its fiscal house in order.

The budget deficit ratio is one of the metrics that ratings agencies watch out for when deciding on a government's creditworthiness.

Last week, global debt watcher Standard & Poor’s kept the Philippines’ investment grade status with a stable outlook on prospects the economy will be supported by robust domestic demand.