Manila, Philippines - The government spent P150.010 billion for interest payments in the first half of the year, 11.5 percent higher than last year’s P134.502 billion, latest data from the Department of Finance (DOF) showed.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad attributed the 11.5-percent increase to higher debt issued by the Bureau of the Treasury during the period as well as interest paid on retail treasury bonds (RTBs).
“This is due largely to higher issuances of fixed rate Treasury bills and retail treasury bonds by the Bureau of the Treasury,” Abad said.
Despite the increase, the amount spent for interest payments during the period still fell below the programmed allocation of P155.855 billion.
Similarly, in June alone, interest payments increased to P19.021 billion, 13.9 percent higher than the P16.705 billion disbursed a year ago.
Interest payments, which form part of expenditures, are paid on the country’s domestic and foreign debts.
Minus the interest payments, the government’s total expenditures for January to June amounted to P645.393 billion, 14.4 percent higher than the P564.369 billion spent by the government a year ago.
In June alone, the government’s disbursements – less interest payments – increased to P107.951 billion, 18.5 percent higher than the P91.125 billion spent a year ago.
The Aquino administration is stepping up efforts to fix the country’s fiscal position through a combination of higher revenues, increased spending and debt liability management.
Fiscal authorities said the government’s fiscal space remains wide, giving it more room to accelerate spending.
In the first half of the year, the government’s budget gap stood at P34.482 billion, almost P75 billion below the programmed deficit ceiling for the period of P109.341 billion.
Revenues in the first half of the year increased by 11.6 percent to P760.921 billion from P681.640 billion a year ago. This is P15.026 billion lower than the P775.947 billion during the period.
Similarly, January to June expenditures increased by 13.8 percent to P795.403 billion from the P698.871 billion disbursed in the same period last year. However, this was still below the program for the period of P885.288 billion.
In June alone, revenues increased to P115.276 billion, 15.1 percent higher than the P100.139 billion generated a year ago while expenditures reached P126.972 billion, 17.8 percent higher than the P107.830 billion disbursed in June last year. - By Iris C. Gonzales