GOVERNMENT EXPECTS BUDGET DEFICIT OF P132 BILLION IN 2010
MANILA, MARCH 3, 2009 (STAR) Iris C. Gonzales - The government expects a budget deficit of P132.1 billion in 2010 as it abandons its goal to balance the budget next year, Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran told a Senate hearing yesterday.
Beltran said the P132.1 billion is equivalent to 1.5 percent of the country’s total economic output or gross domestic product (GDP). It is lower than the revised deficit program for this year of P177.2 billion.
“For 2010 we have projected a deficit of 1.5 of the GDP. This year, it’s 2.2 percent of the GDP,” Beltran said in response to a question by Senator Panfilo Lacson if the 2010 balanced budget goal is still realistic.
The Congressional Oversight Committee on the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program conducted yesterday a hearing on the government’s revenue performance. Lacson is co-chairman of the Oversight Committee.
Asked when the government may be able to balance the budget, Beltran said it would depend on the next administration and the performance of the economy.
“It depends on how robust growth will be,” he said, noting that the global financial turmoil has affected the country.
He said this could happen in 2011 or in 2012.
Beltran also presented other macroeconomic assumptions approved by the DBCC for 2010. For the 91-day Treasury bill rate, the DBCC expects an average rate of 5 percent for next year.
The DBCC also expects the country’s inflation or the rate of increase in consumer prices to average at 3.5 percent in 2010, slower than the 3.9 percent expected for this year.
It expects GDP growth to hit a range of 4.9 percent to 5.8 percent from this year’s GDP assumption of 3.7 percent to 4.4 percent.
Exports, meanwhile, are expected to recover in 2010 and grow by eight percent to 10 percent from an expected drop of eight to 10 percent this year.
Imports are expected to grow by 12 percent to 14 percent in 2010.
Last year, the National Government incurred a budget deficit of P68.1 billion in 2008 or below the P75 billion-deficit ceiling.
Revenue collections reached P1.202 trillion or P22.3 billion below the program for last year while expenditures reached P1.271 trillion or P29.1 billion below the program.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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