26 SEPTEMBER 2001

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Government year on year debt up 11.3%

In the latest in its releases on government finance, the National Statistics Office reports that over this year’s first eight months, ordinary revenue has increased by Lm26.4 million, while total expenditure also increased by 36.6 million. Following are the full details.

The National Statistics Office reported yesterday that, compared to the first eight months of last year, Ordinary Revenue this year increased by Lm26.4 million, or 6.8 per cent, and amounted to Lm416.2 million. This increase was however offset by an increase of Lm36.6 million in Total Expenditure - as a result of less contributions to the Sinking Fund which this year amounted to Lm6.2 million compared to Lm6.4 million contributed last year. The shortfall between Ordinary Revenue and Total Expenditure, resulting from less contribution to the Sinking Fund in respect of local and foreign loans, during the period under review this year amounted to Lm71.7 million; up from a comparable shortfall of Lm61.4 million reported during the same period last year.
Revenue
During the January to August period, revenue from Consumption Taxes (VAT) increased by Lm6.3 million or 9.2 per cent. At the same time, revenue from Income Tax and Social Security increased by Lm9.2 million and Lm8.1 million respectively. Revenue from profits on lotteries has to date increased by Lm1.2 million. On the other hand, revenue from Customs and Excise declined by Lm2.8 million or 7.7 per cent.
Total Ordinary Revenue to date makes up 62.5 per cent of this year’s original budgeted revenue forecast.
During the January to August period of last year, Government was also in receipt of Lm12.0 million by way of proceeds from asset sales, and of Lm6.0 million in the form of grants. During the same period this year, no revenue from asset sales was reported, while the revenue from grants from the EU amounted to Lm0.44 million.
Expenditure
When compared to the same period last year, Total Expenditure increased by Lm36.4 million or 7.9 per cent, and amounted to Lm494.1 million. However, Total Expenditure during the first eight months of 2000 and 2001 were both within the 66.7 per cent benchmark when comparing this year’s data with the budgetary estimates, and last year’s data with the actual final outturn. The comparative figures of expenditures are listed hereunder.
A comparative increase of Lm10.4 million or 5.3 per cent was reported under the Programmes and Initiatives category (Lm204.7 million in 2001, Lm194.3 million in 2000). Although within this category last year Government paid a one-off budgetary compensation payment of Lm4.0 million, this year excess expenditures were reported in respect of Treasury Pensions (+Lm4.7 million), the State Grant (+Lm2.5 million), Social Security Benefits (+Lm3.2 million), and Church Schools financing (+Lm1.6 million). On account of this year’s contributions to the University of Malta and the Junior College, the Contribution to the Government Entities category this year registered a comparative increase of Lm2.1 million.
The above additions to the recurrent expenditure were in part offset by a reduction of Lm3.7 million within the Operational and Maintenance Expenses category (Lm28.7 million this year as against Lm32.4 million last year). This reduction was brought about by less expenditure on materials and supplies at the Health Division; as well as on transport costs under certain Recurrent votes as a result of drivers taking up regular employment with Government, thereby shifting the expenditure on their remuneration to the Personal Emoluments category.
Public debt servicing interest
The interest portion of public debt servicing costs has increased by Lm0.9 million this year, from Lm38.8 million last year to Lm39.7 million during the period under review. This increase was mainly the result of loans borrowed during the second half of 1999 and the resort to Treasury Bills. Government transferred practically the same amount (just over Lm6.0 million) both this year and during the same period last year to sinking funds in respect of foreign and local loans.
Capital expenditure
As far as the Capital expenditure is concerned, this year’s outlay has exceeded last year’s by Lm11.5 million or 22.7 per cent, from Lm50.7 million last year to Lm62.2 million this year. While Lm1.6 million more has been spent this year on road works, an additional Lm4.5 million has been incurred this year over the amount spent last year under the Ministry for Economic Services (mainly by way of public entities’ debt servicing costs). At the same time additional capital outlays of Lm4.1 million and Lm2.2 million were respectively reported in respect of expenditure on the New Hospital Project, and on acquisition of property.
Government debt
Provisional statistics supplied by the Central Bank of Malta report that Government Debt outstanding at the end of August stood at Lm1,007.3 million; up by Lm101.9 million, or 11.3 per cent, from Lm905.4 million outstanding at the end of August last year. Treasury Bills and Malta Government stock accounted for Lm179.3 million or 17.8 per cent, and Lm791.7 million or 78.6 per cent respectively. The remaining share of Lm36.3 million or 3.6 per cent was made up of foreign borrowing. At the end of August, Government debt was Lm82.3 million more when compared with the end of last year. Compared to one month earlier, Government debt was higher by Lm13.5 million.

 



The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
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