16 - 22 May, 2001

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Government debt up 5.5% in Q1

On the other hand, the yield from Customs and Excise Duties stood marginally lower, down by Lm0.05 million, when compared with the same period last year.

As from this year, receipts from the sale of shares, as well as sinking funds of converted loans, listed as other extraordinary receipts, are not accounted as ordinary revenue. The measure has been implemented in line with international procedures.

When compared to the first three months of last year, recurrent expenditure during the same period of this year contracted by Lm8.6 million.

However within this context one must bear in mind that March 2000’s figures included social security benefits which should have been accounted for in the first days of April. Otherwise, total recurrent expenditure this year is on the same level as last year when comparing the former with the budgetary estimates and the latter with the final out turn.

Indeed the recurrent expenditure to date amounted to Lm139.5 million and made up 23 per cent of the approved budgetary estimates. Last year's expenditure of Lm148 million accounted for 26.9 per cent of the actual final out turn.

Personal emoluments this year saw an increase of Lm6 million due to the revision in the salary scales following the new civil service collective agreement, the Lml.50c per week cost of living adjustment and normal incremental steps in wages and salaries.

Meanwhile, operational and maintenance expenses this year has reduced its expenditure by Lm1 million, mainly through a lower expenditure, to date, on the Health Division’s drugs and surgical materials.

This year, the amount spent on contributions to government entities category registered a year on year increase of Lm3 million. This was essentially made up of additional funds passed over to both the Water Services Corporation and the University.

The public debt servicing costs have increased by Lm0.6 million, or four per cent to Lm16.0 million during the first three months of the year.

Within this category, interest payments increased by Lm1 million on account of the loans borrowed during the second half of 1999, and the resort to Treasury Bills. No contributions to the Sinking Fund were made during the period under review.

As far as the capital budget is concerned, this year's outlay registered an increase of Lm5.2 million, or 31.9 per cent and amounted to Lm21.7 million. During the first three months of this year expenditure on road works increased by Lm1.1 million. At the same time, an additional Lm3.3 million were spent on the new hospital project.

Provisional statistics supplied by the Central Bank of Malta report that government debt outstanding at the end of March amounted to Lm919.4 million - up from Lm870.9 million outstanding at the end of March last year.

Treasury Bills and Malta Government stock accounted for Lm167.8 million or 18.3 per cent and Lm712.7 million or 77.5per cent respectively. The remaining share of Lm38.9 million or 4.2 per cent was accounted for by foreign borrowing.

At the end of March, government debt registered a decline of Lm5.5 million when compared with the end of last year. Compared to the end of March 2000, government debt was Lm48.6 million higher.


The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt