Thursday, 17 March 2011

Govt posts budget surplus

by Elaine R. Alanguilan
Manila Standard

The government registered a budget surplus of P13.4 billion in January, the second in three months, as spending fell, tax collection beat targets and dividends from state agencies boosted revenue.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima attributed the favorable fiscal performance to much- improved revenue collections and the windfall from the remittances of state companies amounting to P24 billion.

“The trend improvement in cash collections of Internal Revenue and Customs since the last quarter of 2010 clearly shows that the reforms implemented by the Aquino administration to improve processes and fight corruption at both agencies as well as the intensified campaign against tax evaders and smugglers have started to produce good results,” said Purisima.

“We are determined to win our fight against tax evaders, smugglers and corrupt government officials. It will be a long fight and there are no shortcuts but we are firmly resolved at tackling this from all fronts and win our battle step by step.”

Revenue collections in January reached P135.9 billion, up 47 percent from P92.3 billion a year ago while expenses fell 5.3 percent to P122.5 billion from P129.4 billion on year.

Internal Revenue and Customs bureaus exceeded their respective monthly targets and registered double-digit collection growth year-on-year.

Internal Revenue collections in January rose 15 percent year-on-year to P74.6 billion from P64.6 billion and were higher by P2.6 billion than the P72-billion target for the month.

“Meeting the target for the first time on the first month of the year is a good signal for Internal Revenue. However, I have to stress that it is still early in the year and we will continue our efforts to collect from everyone what is due, so the country will have enough to fund vital projects that will support future economic growth,” said Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares.

“I’m confident that the government will be able to meet their deficit target for this year,” Angeline Sia, a fixed-income trader who helps manage the equivalent of $12 billion at BPI Asset Management Inc., said before the report. “What’s crucial is to improve revenue collection to be able to cut the deficit without hurting spending.”

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