Government spending down 15% in September

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 23)  The national government reported lower spending in September, data from the Bureau of Treasury showed.

Public spending declined by 15.45% to ₱350.9 billion, which the agency associated to the timing of subsidy releases and the base effect of higher infrastructure spending in the same month last year.

However, for the period ending September, a growth of 15.07% to ₱3.022 trillion was recorded, but was still lower by 7.53% than the revised program of ₱3.26 trillion due to measures that are still to be implemented under Bayanihan 2.

The P165.5 billion measure signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Sept. 11 intends to fund the government's pandemic response for economic recovery. However, some implementing agencies said they have not received funding, thus delaying the implementation of their programs.

RCBC economist Michael Ricafort said this decline in spending could slow the country's recovery, thus the need to speed up disbursements and implementation of Bayanihan 2 to achieve its goals despite roughly two months remaining in 2020.

Meanwhile, government's budget deficit narrowed 22.4% to ₱138.5 billion from last year, but was wider than the ₱40.1 billion recorded last month.

This occurred despite a 10.19% decline in revenue collections, which was at ₱212.4 billion. Of this amount, 91% came from taxes, while 12% came from non-tax sources.

During the first nine months of the year, revenues were also down by 7.92% to ₱2.143 trillion, but was 8.8% above than the ₱1.97 trillion revised target.

Compared to Sept. 2019, collections from the Bureau of Internal Revenue for the month declined 6.56%, as well as tax collected from the Bureau of Customs by 13.69% and from other offices by 1.54%.

Non-tax revenues also declined 24.13% to ₱19.4 billion still due to the pandemic and lower government share from PAGCOR's income and the payment of interest on advances that offset higher collections from the government's shares of stocks.