DOF exec: Further push for fiscal reforms needed

Department of Finance (DOF) Undersecretary Gil Beltran  has cited the need to further push for fiscal reforms to benefit more Pilipinos.

In a recent economic bulletin, Beltran said “the fiscal reforms adopted by the Duterte administration boosted the tax effort to its highest first-quarter level in history,” The reforms “made the country one of the few emerging economies to maintain investment-grade rating and avoid a credit rating downgrade which would have pushed up interest rates and delayed nascent economic recovery,” he added.

Beltran noted that the pandemic has increased the need for government to hike expenditures given the need to address its impact. Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) data show that government spending rose by 19.86%  year-on-year in the first quarter this year to P1.017 trillion.

Dovernmenr revenues, however, droppd 8.73% during the same period to P696.5 billion, which resulted to a budget gap of P321.5 billion, up 273.11% against the P86.2 billion deficit in end-March 2020.

Amid the revenue drop, Beltran noted the rise in tax revenues during the same period. Tax revenues jumped by 7.09% year-on-year in March this year to P190.1 billion while it rose by 0.87% year-on-year in the first quarter of this year.

He attributed the first quarter results to the 0.18% year-on-year rise of Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) collection during the period and the 2.66% collection hike   by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Beltran said “robust BIR and BOC collections were boosted by the implementation of tax reforms,” thus the need for government to “continue to adopt fiscal reforms, particularly tax reforms still pending in Congress, to sustain these fiscal gains.”

“Due to fiscal reforms, the country has also been able to protect its strong macroeconomic fundamentals,” Beltran stressed.