24 OCTOBER 2001

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Government finance for first nine months well within budget
Government debt decline by Lm4.1million

The National Statistics office yesterday issued government finance statistics for the first nine months of last year. Ordinary Revenue this year increased by Lm25.0 million, or 5.7 per cent, and reached Lm466.4 million. The figures confirm that government finance is well within budget parameters.

This increase was however offset by an increase of Lm44.3 million in Total Expenditure (less contributions to the Sinking Fund and Direct Loan Repayments, which this year amounted to Lm6.7 million compared to Lm7.0 million expended last year).

Therefore the shortfall between Ordinary Revenue and Total Expenditure (less contribution to the Sinking Fund in respect of local and foreign loans as well as less direct repayment of loans) during the period under review this year amounted to Lm81.4 million, up from a comparable shortfall of Lm62.2 million during the same period last year.

During the period January to September 2001, revenue from Consumption Taxes (VAT) increased by Lm5.8 million or 7.5 per cent.

Concurrently revenue from Income Tax and Social Security increased by Lm9.0 million and Lm8.5 million respectively. Lotteries have also yielded Lm1.0 million more this year than the profits passed to Government during the same period last year. On the other hand revenue from Customs has declined by Lm2.8 million. This comparative decrease has been affected by a timing difference in respect of payment of duty by Enemalta Corporation.

Total Ordinary Revenue to date makes up 70.0 per cent of this year’s original budgeted revenue forecast.

In the first nine months of 2000, 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 Lm0.5 million.

Total Expenditure up by Lm44 million
In absolute terms the Total Expenditure during the first nine months of this year is higher by Lm44.0 million, and makes up 72.3 per cent of this year’s budget projections. During the same period last year Total Expenditure amounted to Lm510.6 million and made up 71.3 per cent of last year’s actual final outturn.

Comparative figures of expenditures are listed hereunder.

The major increase under Recurrent Expenditure was reported under the Personal Emoluments category. This category increased its expenditure by Lm17.8 million, or 14.0 per cent. As explained in earlier news releases, this increase is the result of improvements in the salary scales following the new civil service collective agreement, the Lm1.50c per week cost of living adjustment, as well as the normal incremental steps in wages and salaries. However, while last year’s expenditure for the period under review represented 75.0 per cent of last year’s final outturn, this year’s outlay when compared to this year’s budgeted figure for this category shows a 74.0 per cent level of expenditure.

A comparative increase of Lm13.2 million or 6.1 per cent was reported under the Programmes and Initiatives category (Lm229.4 million in 2001, Lm216.2 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 (+Lm4.9 million), the State Grant (+Lm2.8 million), Social Security Benefits (+Lm4.5 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 Government Entities category this year registered a comparative increase of Lm2.4 million (Lm25.9 million this year compared to Lm23.5 million last year).

The above additions to recurrent expenditure were in part offset by a reduction of Lm2.6 million within the Operational and Maintenance Expenses category (Lm32.4 million this year as against Lm36.0 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 imprest drivers taking up regular employment with Government, thereby shifting the expenditure on their remuneration to the Personal Emoluments category.

The interest portion of public debt servicing costs has increased by Lm2.5 million, from Lm42.6 million during the first nine months of 2000 to Lm45.1 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.

Capital expenditure during the period under review this year increased by Lm11.0 million or 18.8 per cent and, amounted to Lm69.2 million. While Lm1.8 million more has been spent this year on road works, an additional Lm3.6 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 an additional capital outlay of Lm4.4 million was reported in respect of expenditure on the New Hospital Project.

Provisional statistics supplied by the Central Bank of Malta report that Government Debt outstanding at the end of September stood at Lm1,003.2 million; up by Lm102.9 million, or 11.4 per cent, from Lm900.2 million outstanding at the end of September last year. Treasury Bills and Malta Government stock accounted for Lm175.3 million or 17.5 per cent, and Lm791.7 million or 78.9 per cent respectively. The remaining share of Lm36.2 million or 3.6 per cent was made up of foreign borrowing. At the end of September, Government debt was Lm78.2 million more when compared with the end of last year. Compared to one month earlier, Government debt declined by Lm4.1 million.



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