TO strike the balance between government spending and the budget deficit is still one of the major challenges for the new administration, an economic team composed of officials of the different government agencies said yesterday.

National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Acting Director General Augusto Santos in a press conference said that though the country is on its way to economic recovery, hitting the budget deficit target should be one of the concerns of the incoming administration.

The government, he said, aims to bring down the budget deficit to 3.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) this year from the 3.9 budget deficit posted in 2009.

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“The new administration should push up revenues, implement effective tax administration measures and intensify its collections to hit the budget deficit target,” Santos said.

Aside from Santos, Budget Undersecretary Laura Pascua said the new administration should advance reforms that are built on balancing the government spending and budget deficit.

“High budget deficit can affect the future generation,” she said.

She added that revenue measures should be addressed to reverse the situation of a high budget deficit.

Though the 3.9 budget deficit posted last year is still within the target and is considered lower compared to what neighboring countries had, the economic team said the challenge of the new administration is to continue the rebound for the Philippine economy.

The economic team who visited Cebu yesterday for the Year End Philippine Economic Briefing also included Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Director Zebo Abenoja, Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary Preceles Anzano, Department of Finance Secretary Gil Beltran and Department of Energy Undersecretary Mary Rose Crisostomo.

Neda was represented by Regional Director Marlene Rodriguez while Regional Director Asteria Caberte represented Department of Trade and Industry.