Updated: Most of this year's stocks already issued - finance ministry
Debt for the first quarter of the year had increased to 75 per cent for two reasons - the guarantees given under the European Financial Stability Fund for a number of countries to be bailed out and the fact that the government issued most of this year's stocks in the first quarter.
This was done because of favourable market conditions.
In a statement issued this evening, the Finance Ministry said this meant that the country would be saving on interest and it would be borrowing less during the rest of the year.
In the first half of the year, €455 million worth of stocks were issued, or 65 per cent of this year’s total, which could not exceed €700 million.
As a result, it was clear that the 75 per cent debt rate was temporary but the Opposition spokesman was choosing to ignore this.
The Finance Ministry was referring to a statement issued earlier today by Opposition spokesman Karmenu Vella.
Mr Vella said that the Finance Minister revised his public debt target upwards three times in the past eight months.
He said that in April last year, the minister of Finance had indicated that public debt at the end of this year would stand at 66.9% of GDP.
But in the budget the target went up 68.9%. In the Stability Programme of April this year, this was again revised to 70.3% and in a statement to The Times this week, the minister said that his public debt target for the end of this year was revised to 72%.
Mr Vella also said it was likely that the new target would not be achieved and according to European Commission's debt projections published last week, Malta’s debt was set to rise to 74.8% of GDP by the end of this year.
In its statement, the ministry noted that although the government remained focus to strengthen the country’s financial position, this was stronger than the euro zone average where debt surpassed 88 per cent.