Gov’t cites gains in managing liabilities

THE RATIO of the country’s debt to its gross domestic product (GDP) declined last quarter as a result of continuing government efforts to manage liabilities, the Department of Finance (DoF) said in a statement yesterday.

Specifically, debt-to-GDP ratio dipped to 51.2% in the first quarter from 53.9% a year ago.

“Your economy is growing faster than your debt because your deficit is also contained,” Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said in the statement.

With a P26.197-billion budget shortfall in the first quarter, plunging 80.48% from the P134.179 billion recorded a year ago, the government had less reason to borrow.

National debt totaled P4.706 trillion as of March, 5.6% more than the P4.458 trillion a year ago, Treasury bureau data showed.

In comparison, GDP, or the value of all finished goods and services within the country, grew to P9.193 trillion in the same period, up 11.19% from P8.268 trillion last year, Mr. Beltran noted.

The government benefited from the debt swaps it conducted late last year, allowing it to exchange debts with high interest and short maturities to those with low interest and longer maturities, Mr. Beltran explained.

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