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Govt debt servicing slips in Nov

Smaller amortization expenses dragged the national government’s debt payments in November last year by more than 87 percent compared to the servicing done a year ago, data released by the Bureau of the Treasury showed.

Debt payments in November settled at P26.78 billion, sliding by 87.92 percent from the P221.84 billion posted a year ago.

Interest payments, which accounted for 74.79 percent of the total, accelerated by 15.91 percent to P20.03 billion from P17.28 billion in November 2019.

Domestic interest payments ballooned by 14.42 percent to P15.94 billion in November last year from P13.93 billion a year earlier, while foreign ones expanded by 22.45 percent to P4.09 billion from P3.34 billion.

Amortization expenses, meanwhile, eased by 96.70 percent to P6.75 billion from P204.55 billion in November 2019.

Foreign amortization accounted for the total as no domestic amortization was posted during the month.

Year-to-date, debt payments picked up by 10.36 percent to P888.69 billion from P805.26 billion in the same period in 2019.

In 2019, the government settled P842.44 billion debt to creditors, soaring by 13.87 percent from P725.58 billion in 2018.

The Treasury bureau earlier reported that the national government’s outstanding obligations rose to another all-time high at the end of November last year as domestic borrowings climbed.

The actual P10.13-trillion government debt as of end-November grew by 1.1 percent or P106.36 billion from the P10.02 trillion at end-October 2020.

Of the figure, 29 percent was secured from external creditors and 71 percent was generated locally.

Domestic debt hit P7.19 trillion, a 1.6-percent increase from end-October’s P7.07 trillion, while foreign obligations slid by 0.3 percent to P2.94 trillion.

Outstanding debt a year ago was at P7.70 trillion, of which P5.11 trillion were local and P2.59 trillion were foreign.

Earlier, data from the Department of Budget and Management showed that state debt is seen to hit P10.16 trillion by the end of 2020. If so, it would be 31.42-percent higher than the P7.73-trillion liabilities at the end of 2019.

Domestic debt is projected to reach P6.91 trillion — a 34.84-percent increase from P5.12 trillion at end-2019 — accounting for the bulk of outstanding obligations.

External liabilities will pick up by 24.67 percent to P3.24 trillion from P2.60 trillion last year.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd has said the Philippines is capable of paying its growing number of loans that were mostly used to support the government’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Because our economy has slowed down during the Covid crisis, we have not been able to collect taxes as we had planned and we have also been spending a lot of money on our Covid response,” Dominguez said, adding the government had spent about P375 billion on that response alone.

“Because our collections are down and our expenses are up, we had to borrow money,” he said.

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