5-mo national government revenue up10.8% to nearly P1.6T

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THE national government earned more income in the first five months of the year on an annual basis as revenue bureaus ramped up their collection efforts, giving the finance chief optimism that the state would surpass its full-year revenue target.

The Department of Finance (DOF) said state revenues from January to May reached almost P1.6 trillion, about 10.83 percent higher than the P1.437 trillion recorded income in the same period of last year.

Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno attributed the double-digit rate increase in state revenues to better tax administration, such as cracking down on fake receipts, and higher privatization earnings.

The state’s five-month revenue collection is now 42.69 percent of its target earnings of P3.729 trillion this year.

Given the sustained growth in revenue collections in the first five months of the year, Diokno said the national government would surpass its revenue target this year.

DOF data showed that the state’s tax collections during the five-month period rose by 9.71 percent to P1.414 trillion from P1.289 trillion last year, while its non-tax revenues posted a 20.56-percent growth year-on-year to P178 billion.

Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collections, which accounted for the bulk of the tax collections, increased by almost 10 percent to P1.054 trillion from P959 billion last year.

Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) revenue collections expanded by 12.10 percent to P359.3 billion from P320.5 billion last year, DOF data showed.

Meanwhile, the state’s other tax revenues plunged by 89.53 percent to P1.1 billion from P10.1 billion last year, according to the DOF.

In terms of non-tax revenues, the Bureau of the Treasury’s (BTr) earnings dipped slightly to P82.2 billion from P83.4 billion while other non-tax revenues rose by 48.95 percent to P95.8 billion from P64.3 billion last year.

Diokno attributed the increase in other non-tax revenues to higher privatization sales.

However, despite the higher revenues, Diokno flagged the slow spending by government agencies, resulting in budget surplus as state revenues outpaced its expenditures.

He noted that the government is collecting more revenues than forecasted while government agenvcies are underspending, which may cause delays in infrastructure programs, thereby hampering economic development.

“We are below our deficit target. For fiscal conservatives, that is nice, but not necessarily nice for development,” he told reporters recently.

“That is not good [for us] because we are trying to pick up for the pandemic and also a big part of our budget is really infrastructure,” he added.

Nonetheless, Diokno said the government has enough time to boost its spending for the year. “I really brought this up to the Cabinet that we really have to spend. It is not the lack of money but it is the ability to perform,” he said.

This year, the national government expects a budget deficit of nearly P1.5 trillion, or about 6.1 percent of the country’s GDP.

Latest Treasury data showed that the national government’s budget deficit from January to April was at P204.1 billion, 34.57 percent lower than the P311.9 billion recorded amount in the same period of last year.