Budget deficit narrows in Q1 due to budget delay

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 25) — The national government's budget deficit was much lower for the first quarter, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Treasury (BTr).

A budget or fiscal deficit happens when the government's expenditures exceed revenues over a period. The government targets a deficit of 3.2 percent for 2019.

The deficit recorded in March was at ₱58.4 billion, lower by 47 percent from March 2018. This brings the deficit IN January to March to ₱90.2 billion, down by 41 percent from last year.

Revenue was at ₱228.9 billion in March, a 13-percent increase from the same month last year. For the first quarter, the government collected ₱687.7 billion, up by 11 percent from the same quarter last year.

However, the government also spent less due to the 2019 budget delay. President Rodrigo Duterte finally signed the budget in April.

"National government disbursement in March totaled to ₱287.3 billion, down by 8% or ₱25.7 billion from a year ago mainly on account of lower subsidy and equity releases to government-owned and controlled corporations, alongside the delays in the passage of the 2019 general appropriations act," the BTr said in a statement.

For the full quarter, expenditures had a flat growth of 1 percent, as the government spent ₱778 billion.