04 June 2003

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Expenditure on benefits outweighs revenue from NI

By Kurt Sansone
Public finance statistics for the first four months of the year reveal there is no parity between revenue generated from National Insurance contributions and expenditure on social security benefits. Expenditure is Lm20 million more than the revenue generated through NI.
Statistics released by the National Statistics Office show that the state of government finances has worsened during the first four months of this year when compared to the same period last year. The structural deficit shot up by Lm30.3 million to reach the amount of Lm79.5 million.
Buried in the statistics is the revelation that social security benefits and public sector wages make up almost half of government’s total expenditure.
Between January and April government forked out Lm68.9 million in social benefits, which accounted for almost 24 per cent of the total expenditure. Personal emoluments, or wages, accounted for Lm65 million or 22 per cent of total expenditure.
Between January and April NI accounted for 20 per cent of the total revenue generated. With social security contributions amounting to Lm48.3 million, NI was the single largest source of revenue for government but still Lm20 million short of covering public expenditure on benefits.
Income tax yielded Lm43.3 million or 18 per cent of government’s total revenue.
Government debt between January and April stood at a whopping Lm1.1 billion up by Lm98 million on the same period a year ago.
Also see editorial on page 8

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