Philippines to stick to 2007 borrowing plan

MANILA, June 26 (Reuters) – The Philippines is sticking to its borrowing programme for the year even though the country’s tax take in the first five months of 2007 was lower than expected, acting National Treasurer Roberto Tan said on Tuesday.

The Southeast Asian country planned to borrow $2.466 billion abroad this year and 260 billion pesos ($5.6 billion) from the domestic market, to fund its budget deficit and pay off maturing debts.

“Right now, it’s the same,” Tan told reporters, referring to the borrowing plan. “We have not amended it.”

Total revenues collected for January to May reached 432.6 billion pesos, almost 8 percent short of internal targets.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo this month sacked the head of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which accounts for about two thirds of state revenues, for failing to meet targets.

The Philippine government has insisted it will meet a full-year budget deficit goal of 63 billion pesos, or 0.9 percent of gross domestic product, despite the weak tax collection.

The government is relying on the sale of state stakes in food and drinks giant San Miguel Corp. and power groups Manila Electric and PNOC-Energy Development Corp. in the second half of the year to meet the deficit target.

Tan is running the treasury until a replacement is named for Omar Cruz, who stepped down on June 1 for personal reasons.

($1= 46.34 peso)

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