Pri­mary sur­plus misses its tar­get as rev­enues de­cline

Fi­nance Min­istry con­cerned over 1.2-bil­lion-euro hole in tak­ings

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY SOTIRIS NIKAS & ROULA SALOUROU

Bud­get rev­enues in the first 10 months of the year posted a 1.2-bil­lion-euro short­fall, while debts to the state rose by 119 mil­lion euros in Septem­ber, caus­ing ma­jor con­cern at the Fi­nance Min­istry.

Th­ese de­vel­op­ments have led the coun­try’s cred­i­tors to ex­press doubts re­gard­ing the fis­cal tar­gets for 2015, and even some con­cerns for this year’s tar­gets.

How­ever the min­istry still ex­pects the pri­mary sur­plus tar­get of 1.5 per­cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct to be met by the end of the year, with Al­ter­nate Min­is­ter Chris­tos Staik­ouras ar­gu­ing that the fig­ures to date point to a pri­mary sur­plus that will be even greater.

Ac­cord­ing to data pre­sented by Staik­ouras yes­ter­day, the pri­mary bud­get sur­plus in the first 10 months of the year came to 2.4 bil­lion euros, miss­ing its tar­get by just 44 mil­lion euros.

He at­trib­uted the 1.2-bil­lion-euro hole in the state bud­get rev­enues to tax re­bates be­ing 270 mil­lion euros higher than planned; to the col­lec­tion of just two in­stead of four in­stall­ments of the sin­gle prop­erty tax (ENFIA), which missed its tar­get by 885 mil­lion euros and will be col­lected later in the year after 1.2 bil­lion euros was cashed in by end-Oc­to­ber; and to tax­pay­ers with ex- pired debts wait­ing for the new fa­vor­able frame­work for their set­tle­ment to be an­nounced be­fore mak­ing their move.

Spend­ing cuts came to the res­cue once again, as pri­mary spend­ing was con­tained by 1.5 bil­lion euros in the year to end-Oc­to­ber, with to­tal bud­get ex­pen­di­ture be­ing 2.1 bil­lion euros lower than planned.

The sur­plus in the so­cial se­cu­rity funds’ rev­enue-spend­ing bal­ance is grad­u­ally evap­o­rat­ing, although ex­pen­di­ture on pen­sions has been re­duced by 2.2 per­cent. With state fund­ing re­duced by 29.1 per­cent from last year, rev­enues from so­cial se­cu­rity con­tri­bu­tions have also shrunk by 1.7 per­cent, or 241 mil­lion euros.

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