Government’s consolidated fund reported a deficit of €70.2 million last year, the National Statistics Office said.
It said on Friday the consolidated fund data, which it submitted to the European Commission by means of the excessive deficit procedure on Friday, was the starting point for the compilation of the government’s fiscal balance.
Between January and December 2018, recurrent revenue totalled €4,559.8 million, €268.6 million or 6.3% higher than the €4,291.2 million reported in revenue by the end of 2017. The increase was primarily the result of a €106.8 million rise in value added tax, followed by a €92.8 million increase reported under social security.
Total expenditure for the whole of 2018 amounted to €4,630 million, a 12.7% increase from 2017.
Recurrent expenditure stood at €3,821.4 million, an increase of €278.2 million in comparison to the €3,543.3 million spent in 2017. The main contributor to this increase was a €114.7 million rise reported under programmes and initiatives.
The interest component of the public debt servicing costs amounted to €203.6 million, €11.5 million less than 2017.
Government’s capital expenditure registered an increase of €254.8 million when compared to 2017 and totalled €605 million. The rise in outlay was due to added expenditure reported on EU structural funds 2014-2020 (€110.7 million), EU cohesion fund 2014-2020 (€47.3 million), road construction and improvements (€28.2 million), EU agricultural fund for rural development 2014 - 2020 (€24.2 million), connecting Europe facility (€11.4 million), investment incentives (€8.8 million), wasteserv Malta (€8.1 million), information technology in government schools, ICT (both €5 million), EU Internal Security Fund - Borders and Visa (€4.8 million) and national identity management systems (€3.8 million).
The difference between total revenue and expenditure resulted in a deficit of €70.2 million being reported in the Government’s Consolidated Fund by the end of 2018, compared to a surplus of €182.7 million registered in 2017. The main catalysts in the difference were increased outlays in both recurrent and capital expenditure.
In 2018, central government debt stood at €5,319 million, a €52.8 million downturn from 2017. The catalyst for the decrease in debt was a €240,7 million drop registered under Malta government stocks.
A further decrease was reported under foreign loans (€7.9 million) while higher holdings in Mlata government stocks also presented a decrease of €16.3 million.
Conversely, treasury bills and the 62+ Malta government savings bond rose by €€113 million and €93 million respectively.
Euro coins issued in the name of the treasury also rose by €6.2 million.
Government should explain shortfall in finances - PN
In a statement, the Nationalist Party said that between 2017 and 2018, the consolidated fund ended up worse off by €253 million.
This government, as evidenced by a series of reports by the Auditor General, repeatedly acted against the principles of good governance and value for money.
In its latest report, the Auditor General reported how the Ministry of Health employed personnel on the eve of an election at an annual cost of €2 million. This was not an isolated case.
In 2017, the public sector head count shot up by over 1,500. The bill for these corrupt practices is going to be borne by the taxpayers. While the government was dishing out jobs to curry political favour, it neglected to provide for key areas. The Teachers' Union also spoke of a crisis in teachers' recruitment.
Recent NSO statistics for January and February 2019 showed that the trend of deficits which started in October was persisting.
The Opposition called on the Finance Ministry which failed in nearly all of its obligations, to explain how it was going to solve the serious shortfall in government finances.
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