Gov't fiscal deficit stands at P9.4B
by Rose B Palacio
Davao City (15 March) -- Finance Secretary Margarito Teves said the government's fiscal deficit came in at P9.4 billion in 2007 which translates into a deficit-to-GDP ratio of only 0.1 percent, compared to more than five percent in 2002.
Secretary Teves said this in a press conference the other day during the economic briefing held at Marco Polo hotel during the Economic Managers Kick-Off Domestic Roadshow in Davao, Highlight Philippines' Fiscal Progress and Reinomic Resilience to Local Business Community.
Teves said that "our efforts to exercise prudence in spending, improve tax collection, contain the deficit and exercise fiscal discipline are paying off. We are focused on building on this access to ensure a balanced budget this year, he said.
During the economic briefing which was themed: "The Philippines: Defying gravity, Rising Steadily," Teves reported that "our complete focus on the economy and on improving the fiscal health of the government over the last seven years, the fastest pace in 31 years.
Last year, we also recorded the lowest fiscal deficit since l986, and posted double digit revenue growth. We are in a stronger position today to weather global economic volatility than in previous years, he stressed.
Outlining the government's 2008 expenditure program, Budget and Management secretary Rolando Andaya, on the other hand said the government will ensure public spending is put to good use and that it will play a part in driving economic growth in Davao as well as other parts of the country.
Andaya said that the budget allocation for spending on infrastructure, education and healthcare nationwide will increase from 2007 by P24.7-billion, P8.4-billion and P4.2-billion, respectively.
Infrastructure and social services will be the priority sectors for the government's increasing capital spending. We will continue to focus on reducing interest payments, reallocating resources to high priority areas including social services which will receive the highest budget allocation this years, and ensuring timely delivery of funds to these important investments, he said.
The Philippine Economic Team and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas kicked-off a domestic economic roadshow in Davao City to inform members of the local business community that the country's marcroeconomic strength is helping the Philippines rise above global economic challenges to sustain its strongest growth momentum in three decades. Davao city is the first to five destinations which include Cebu, Iloilo Naga, and Pampanga that the Economic Managers will visit over the next two weeks.
Other speakers include: NEDA acting secretary Augusto Santos, Energy Usec. Ramon Santos, Agriculture Usec. Jesus Emmanuel Paras, DTI Asec. Merly Cruz and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Director Iluminada Sicat. (PIA) [top]