PH budget gap widens to ₱99.1B in October over stepped-up spending

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 25) — The Philippine government posted a higher budget deficit in October due to more spending, data from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) showed Friday.

An economist said higher spending could be attributable to the reopening of the economy compared to lockdowns the year prior.

In a statement, BTr said the budget deficit reached ₱99.1 billion, or 54.08% higher year-on-year from ₱64.3 billion.

The October deficit was the narrowest in two months from September's ₱179.8 billion.

The figure pushed the gap for the January-October period to ₱1.1 trillion, shrinking by ₱91.6 billion from a year ago.

The BTr attributed October's budget deficit to the accelerated government spending of 22.23% versus the 14.4% revenue growth.

The higher budget deficits "may have to do with the further reopening and no more large scale lockdowns so far this year, compared to some pockets of hard lockdowns in 2021," Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation chief economist Michael Ricafort said in his emailed commentary.

Expenses in October jumped to ₱387.9 billion compared to the ₱317.4 billion registered a year prior driven by higher share of local governments from national tax proceeds, subsidy releases for programs implemented by government corporations, disbursements for social protection programs, and road infrastructure projects.

Revenue collection, meanwhile, stood at ₱288.9 billion, up by 14.14%, with the Bureau of Internal Revenue bringing in ₱186.8 billion. The Bureau of Customs, meanwhile, collected ₱75.1 billion.

The agency itself registered a double-digit increase to ₱13.2 billion.

Total collections from other offices, on the other hand, weakened to ₱13.7 billion.