MAY 19, 2009
(STAR) By Iris C. Gonzales - The country recorded a budget surplus of P7.9 billion in April, normally the year’s biggest tax collection month, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves said yesterday.

The surplus in April brought the deficit for the first four months of the year to P111.8 billion.

Teves told reporters there was a “slight decline in revenues and a slower than expected growth in expenditure.”

Revenues during the month amounted to P116.6 billion or 4.5 percent lower than the P122 billion posted in the same period last year.

On the other hand, expenditures in April reached P108.7 billion or 12.9 percent higher than the P96.3 billion disbursed in the same period last year.

Teves said that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the government’s main revenue earner, is feeling the pinch of the implementation of several measures that have resulted in lower collections.

“Of the total revenues, the BIR collected P87.1 billion in April, down by 4.7 percent compared to last year, mainly due to higher-than-expected foregone revenues from the implementation of Republic Act 9504 which expanded tax deductions for individual and corporate taxpayers,” Teves said.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) earned P21.6 billion in April, nearly unchanged from the P21.7 billion recorded in the same month last year.

However, despite the April surplus, the government still incurred a deficit of P111.8 billion from January to April, higher than the P25.8 billion deficit incurred in the same period last year.

Revenues during the four-month period dropped to P351.9 billion, 6.3 percent lower than the P375.5 billion generated in the same period last year. Expenditures, on the other hand, rose to P463.7 billion, 15.5 percent higher than the P401.3 billion disbursed in the same period last year.

Teves said the January to April deficit was still within the programmed deficit for the period.

“This is still within the government’s programmed deficit of P155.1 billion for the first half of the year,” Teves said.

Teves said the government hopes to sustain the expenditures throughout the year to help the country cope with the global financial crisis.

“We hope to sustain the pace of our expenditures to help us attain a respectable level of economic growth despite the very challenging global environment…We need to keep our infrastructure projects going and sustain market confidence,” he said.

Asked if the government would still adjust the P199.2 billion-programmed deficit for 2009, Teves said this would depend on the actual gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of the year.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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