Government registers deficit of €753.2 million by end August – NSO

Last Updated on Friday, 24 September, 2021 at 11:47 am by Andre Camilleri

By the end of August 2021, the Government’s Consolidated Fund reported a deficit of €753.2 million, a statement by the National Statistics Office read.

In the first eight months of 2021, the recurrent revenue amounted to €3,221.5 million, 27.6% higher than the €2,524.8 million reported a year earlier. The largest increase was recorded under income tax (€331.4 million), followed by value added tax (€186.1 million), social security (€134.6 million), customs and excise duties (€58.5 million), licences, taxes and fines (€21.4 million) and grants (€3.9 million). The rise in revenue was partially offset by decreases under miscellaneous receipts (€18.7 million), fees of office (€17.6 million), rents (€2.2 million) and reimbursements (€1.0 million). By the end of August 2021, total expenditure stood at €3,974.7 million, 10.1% higher than the previous year.

“During the reference period, Recurrent Expenditure totalled €3,474.3 million, a rise of €509.2 million in comparison to the €2,965.1 million reported by the end of August 2020. The main contributor to this increase was a €433.2 million rise reported under programmes and initiatives. furthermore, increases were also witnessed under personal emoluments (€68.8 million) and contributions to government entities (€14.4 million). This rise in expenditure was partially offset by a decrease under operational and maintenance expenses (€7.1 million),” the NSO said.

The largest development in the programmes and initiatives category was related to the Pandemic Assistance Scheme (€257.4 million), which includes the COVID-19 Business Assistance Programme.

“Other increases under programmes and initiatives were reported under hospital concession agreements (€41.3 million), EU own resources (€26.5 million), social security benefits (€19.3 million), church schools (€16.9 million), St Vincent de Paul Residence service contract (€14.1 million), Waiting lists for medical services (outsourcing) (€10.7 million), economic regeneration voucher scheme (€9.6 million), extension of school transport network (€8.6 million), residential care in private homes (€3.9 million), child care for all (€2.3 million) and students’ maintenance grants (€1.6 million). The interest component of the public debt servicing costs totalled €123.1 million, an increase of €1.8 million when compared to the previous year.”

By the end of August 2021, Government’s capital spending amounted to €377.3 million, €147.3 million lower than 2020. The drop largely resulted from the reclassification of the COVID-19 Business Assistance Programme (€229.0 million), which featured under Capital Expenditure between March and December 2020 but is now classified under Recurrent Expenditure. This decline outweighed an increase of €81.7 million reported in other capital projects, the NSO added.

The difference between total revenue and expenditure resulted in a deficit of €753.2 million being reported in the Government’s Consolidated Fund at the end of August 2021.

“Compared to the same period in 2020, there was a decrease in deficit of €333 million. This difference mirrors an increase in total recurrent revenue (€696.7 million), partially offset by a rise in total expenditure, consisting of recurrent expenditure (€509.2 million), interest (€1.8 million) and capital expenditure (-€147.3 million).”

“Changes in expenditure and revenue reflect developments related to COVID-19. At the end of August 2021, Central Government debt stood at €7,684.5 million, a €1,085.4 million rise from 2020.”

“Increases reported under Malta Government stocks (€698.6 million) and foreign loans (€419.9 million) were the main contributors to the rise in debt. The latter increase in debt was a result of the €420.0 million EU loan from the temporary support to mitigate unemployment risks in an emergency (SURE) instrument. Higher debt was also reported under Euro coins issued in the name of the Treasury (€1.0 million). This rise in debt was partly offset by a decrease in Treasury Bills (€26.0 million) and the 62+ Malta Government Savings Bond (€5.1 million). Finally, lower holdings by government funds in Malta Government Stocks resulted in a decrease in debt of €2.9 million.”

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