CLARK FREEPORT: as the increase in government spending exceeded the increase in revenues that it raised during the first 10 months, the budget deficit widened by 87 percent to P438.1 billion.
During the Sulong Pilipinas 2018-Development Forum of the Philippines, the Secretary of Budget, Benjamin E. Diokno, and the Secretary of Finance, Carlos G. Domínguez III, said that the heavy expenditures on public goods and services were proof that the Duterte's administration had already addressed the chronic problem of insufficient expenditure.
The latest data from the Treasury Office published on Monday showed that the fiscal deficit at the end of October increased from P234.9 billion in the same period of 10 months last year.
In a statement, the Treasury noted that the deficit as of October already accounted for 84 percent of the P523.7 billion scheduled for 2018.
Expenditures at the end of October rose 25 percent to P2.796 trillion from P2.241 trillion a year ago.
Net of interest payments, primary disbursements from January to October increased 27 percent to P2.501 trillion from P1.972 trillion last year.
Fiscal and non-fiscal revenues in the first 10 months increased 18 percent to P2,358 billion from the P2.007 billion from the previous year.
The collection of taxes from the two largest revenue agencies, the Internal Revenue Offices (BIR) and Customs (BOC), increased 12 percent annually to P1.609 billion and 34 percent to P490.6 billion, respectively, at the end -October.
"In the old days of lack of spending, critics criticized the government for having moved too slowly to do the projects. "Now that we are making progress in our spending schedule, we are being criticized for widening the budget deficit, which was certainly our objective, which was, incidentally, what the business community asked of us," Domínguez said.
The Duterte administration had set a budget deficit limit equivalent to 3 percent of gross domestic product this year and 3.2 percent of GDP next year as it develops its ambitious infrastructure program "Build, build, build."
For his part, Diokno said in a separate speech that the largest actual government spending was "clear proof that the program" Build, Build, Build "is firing on all cylinders."
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