Pri­mary sur­plus of­fers cush­ion to bud­get

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - SOTIRIS NIKAS

The dra­matic shrink­ing of ex­pen­di­tures and the pos­i­tive course of rev­enues have led to the cre­ation of a cush­ion for the state bud­get in the first half of the year, which showed a pri­mary sur­plus of 2.47 bil­lion eu­ros against a tar­get for a pri­mary deficit of 1 bil­lion. How­ever, the course of the Pub­lic In­vest­ments Pro­gram is caus­ing some con­cern as in end-June state spend­ing on in­vest­ment came to just 1.3 bil­lion eu­ros against an an­nual tar­get of 6.75 bil­lion.

The cush­ion of around 3.5 bil­lion eu­ros over what the bud­get had pro­vided for is due to the re­duc­tion of ex­pen­di­tures by 3.35 bil­lion eu­ros. At the same time, the net rev­enues of the state bud­get beat their tar­get by 146 mil­lion eu­ros, as the main value-added tax rate was in­creased from 23 to 24 per­cent in June.

This was off­set to a great ex­tent by a re­duc­tion in the rev­enues of the Pub­lic In­vest­ments Pro­gram, which came to just over 2 bil­lion against a tar­get for 2.67 bil­lion eu­ros, lag­ging by 642 mil­lion.

The pro­gram’s spend­ing should have come to 2.1 bil­lion eu­ros in the Jan­uary-June pe­riod but it missed this tar­get by 883 mil­lion due to ex­ces­sive con­tain­ment. This mainly came from projects funded jointly with the Euro­pean Union, in which the state has in­vested 1 bil­lion in­stead of 2 bil­lion eu­ros. The Fi­nance Min­istry ex­pects this anom­aly to be ironed out in the sec­ond half of the year, so that the an­nual tar­get of 6.75 bil­lion eu­ros can be achieved – though this cur­rently ap­pears to be a long shot.

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