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PIA Press Release

Philippines to post lower 2006 budget deficit - Cruz

Quezon City (24 October) -- The Philippines will post a full-year budget deficit that is lower than the target of P125 billion, given the government's tight spending and improved revenue collection, National Treasurer Omar Cruz said on Monday.

This could help the government reduce its borrowings in 2007, he said.

The government relies heavily on foreign and local borrowings to fund its budget deficit, which should not exceed P63 billion or 0.9 percent of projected gross domestic product in 2007.

"One thing is clear and that is the fact that we will be ahead of our program," Cruz said.

"We can not pick a specific number because that is less easy to predict but it's moot and academic that we will over-perform this year."

According to Cruz, the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) was already in the process of finalizing the fiscal budget for 2007 which would ultimately determine the government's borrowing program.

"The market will be shocked at the degree of reduction in our borrowing program next year," he said. "We are not changing the bottom line, specifically keeping the deficit at P63 billion. But borrowing will go down."

The Philippines swung to a budget deficit of P16.2 billion in September, after recording four monthly surpluses.

The national government had a budget deficit of P50.4 billion for January to September, lower than the programmed nine-month deficit of P122 billion.

The national government had surpluses in April, May, June, and August, bolstering hopes that the Philippines may record a deficit lower than the full-year target of P125 billion, which is equivalent to 2.1 percent of projected gross domestic product (GDP).

It had a fiscal gap of P146.5 billion in 2006, which was 2.7 percent of GDP. (PIA) [top]

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