Saturday, 26 April 2008

National gov't posts P49-B primary surplus in Q1

By LEE C. CHIPONGIAN
The Manila Bulletin
http://www.mb.com.ph/BSNS20080426122825.html

The National Government posted a primary surplus of P48.7 billion, 30.9 percent higher compared to year-before and 6.6 percent more than the program for the period of P42.1 billion, the Bureau of the Treasury said.

For March only the primary surplus – which is the excess budget minus interest payments – reached P11.7 billion from a deficit of P3 billion the same period last year.

BTr data show that the first quarter primary surplus was computed based on collected revenues of P253.5 billion and expenditures net of interest payments of P204.8 billion.

In March, total revenues were P84.8 billion and expenditures minus interest payments amounted to P73.1 billion.

According to Department of Finance numbers, NG interest payments in the first three months totalled P100.2 billion, P2.1 billion below the program for the period and 12.4 percent higher than 2007. For March, interest expenses amounted to P30.3 billion.

On Thursday, the DoF announced a national budget deficit of P51.6 billion in the first quarter, P8.7 billion lower than programmed ceiling of P60.2 billion.

For March, the budget deficit was P18.6 billion.

Last year the government had a primary surplus of P255.4 billion, P15.1 billion more than what was programmed for the year of P240.3 billion.

A growing primary surplus means a government’s capacity to pay debt is improving.

DoF Secretary Margarito B. Teves said that while they are sticking to a zero-deficit budget by the end of this year, he said he now prefers to call it "financing the fiscal requirements" rather than calling it a balanced budget goal.

"We are hopeful that, despite gobal economic volatility, we will be able to further improve collectios," Teves stated. "We remain unwavering in our commitment to raise the revenues to fully finance the budget this year and any additional spending that may be necessary to sustain growth and address the issue of food security."

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