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Philippines posts budget surplus in April as spending falls

Christian Fernsby |
The Philippine government ran a fiscal surplus of 86.9 billion pesos (1.66 billion U.S. dollars) for the month of April, surpassing last year's 46.3 billion pesos (881.90 million) by 87.6 percent, the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) of the Philippines said on Friday.

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For the month of April, the bureau said government revenues reached 308.7 billion pesos (5.88 billion U.S. dollars), up 1.1 billion pesos (20.95 million U.S. dollars) on a year-on-year basis.

The aggregate revenues for the first four months of 2019 amounting to 996.4 billion pesos (18.98 billion U.S. dollars) were also higher by 7.4 percent over comparable collections recorded a year ago, BTr said.

On the other hand, the Philippine government expenditures in April slid to 221.8 billion pesos (4.22 billion U.S. dollars), 15.1 percent lower compared to April 2018's outturn of 261.2 billion pesos (4.98 billion U.S. dollars).

"Part of the slower spending was still due to the four-month delay in the passage of the 2019 national budget which constrained the government in implementing new programs and projects," BTr said.

Total expenditures of 999.8 billion pesos (19.04 billion U.S. dollars) for the first four months of the year also went down by 3 percent year-on-year.

"This resulted in a much wider year-to-date primary surplus of 127.9 billion pesos (2.44 billion U.S. dollars) compared to 14.5 billion pesos (276.19 million U.S. dollars) registered in the first four months of 2018," BTr said.

The Philippine economy grew by just 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2019, the slowest growth rate recorded in 16 quarters. The government blamed the sharp slowdown on the delayed approval of the 2019 national budget by lawmakers.


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