Government finances improve
The shortfall between the government’s recurrent revenue and total expenditure improved by €42.4 million to €222.6 million in the first quarter this year when compared to the same period last year.
The National Statistics Office said that data obtained from the Consolidated Fund showed a rise in recurrent revenue of €23.5 million and a drop in total expenditure of €18.8 million, lowering the government’s deficit to €222.6 million.
During the period under review, recurrent revenue was recorded at €451.5 million. The comparative increase of 5.5 per cent was triggered by higher returns from income tax (+€22.7 million) and value added tax (+€14.6 million).
On the other hand, declines in recurrent revenue were registered in licenses, taxes and fines (-€5.5 million), social security (-€3.9 million) and customs and excise duties (-€3.2 million).
Compared to January-March 2009, total expenditure stood at €674.1 million, down by 2.7 per cent as a result of lower interest payments and recurrent expenditure.
Notwithstanding a higher expenditure on social security benefits of €15.2 million, and the reclassification of the Malta Tourism Authority (which shifted €13 million from capital to recurrent expenditure), recurrent expenditure went down by €2.1 million, totalling €577.8 million.
These expenditures were outweighed by lower outlays on the shipyards' voluntary retirement schemes (-€16.9 million), medicines and surgical materials (-€13.3 million) and streets and roads lighting (-€5.9 million).
Capital expenditure edged up by €0.9 million. The reclassification of the Malta Tourism Authority was offset by higher expenditure on the Malta South Sewage Treatment Infrastructure (+€9.1 million), the EU Agricultural Guarantee Fund (+€3.4 million) and the EU Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (€2.0 million).
The interest component of the public debt servicing costs was €17.6 million lower than that for the comparable period in 2009 and stood at €47.2 million.
At the end of March 2010, the central government debt outstanding increased by €336.4 million to €3,985.2 million, compared to the corresponding month last year.
Long-term borrowing edged up by €354.5 million whereas short-term securities fell by €7.8 million. Concurrently, foreign borrowing declined by €13.2 million.
The euro coins issued in the name of the Maltese Treasury totalled €36.9 million, up by €4.2 million when compared to the euro coin stock as at the end of March last year.