Budget deficit in Q1 seen to beat P110.9-B goal on strong revenues

Posted at 03/02/10 7:08 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The government is expected to beat its first-quarter budget deficit target, a senior finance official said on Tuesday, putting the country well on track to meet this year's fiscal gap goal.

Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran told Reuters the government was "very likely" to outperform its budget deficit target for January to March given strong collections by the country's two revenue agencies in January and February.

The government is aiming for a budget deficit of P110.94 billion ($2.4 billion) in the first three months of 2010 to keep the full-year gap below P293 billion, or 3.5% of GDP.

Last month, Beltran said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) looked set to surpass their collection goals for the second month in a row in February, aided by economic recovery.

The BIR, which collects around two-thirds of state revenues, aimed to collect over P48 billion in February, while the BOC wanted to collect P18.42 billion last month.

The government posted a record budget deficit of P298.5 billion, or 3.9% of GDP, last year as it boosted spending and the global downturn squeezed revenues.