THREE years from now, the Department of Finance (DOF) is expecting a balanced budget.

Originally, the plan was to strike a balanced budget in 2010.

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"With the global financial crisis, the government was forced to pump the economy with pump priming activities to avoid entering a recession," Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said in a recent interview at Marco Polo Davao.

Budget deficit for 2009 has hit a high of nearly P300 billion.

While a number of global economies are already recovering from the financial crisis that struck during the first part of 2009, the budget department is still proposing that pump priming activities be continued this year.

An estimated 4.3 percent of the country's gross domestic product is being proposed to be used for pump priming activities such as development of infrastructure and livelihood projects.

"We expect to grow faster next year (2010) compared to this year," Beltran said, citing that the projected growth for 2010 is at 2.6 percent.

"By 2012 our projected growth will be back to normal at about 5 to 6 percent," Beltran said.

Meanwhile, the DOF is also keeping a close watch on the revenue collecting agencies like the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenues. Both bureaus failed to meet their targets for 2009. (CPM)