Fa­tigue seen in pri­mary sur­plus

Econ­omy chokes as pay­ment of debts to pri­vate sec­tor is de­layed, while state rev­enues have lost mo­men­tum

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

The ex­ces­sive con­tain­ment of state ex­pen­di­ture and the cen­tral bank div­i­dend led to the bud­get post­ing a pri­mary sur­plus of 2.1 bil­lion eu­ros on top of the tar­get of 846 mil­lion eu­ros in the Jan­uary-Fe­bru­ary pe­riod, al­though this was be­low the fig­ure seen in the same pe­riod last year (2.85 bil­lion eu­ros), ac­cord­ing to data re­leased yes­ter­day by the State Gen­eral Ac­count­ing Of­fice.

The state is de­priv­ing the real econ­omy of vi­tal liq­uid­ity by not pay­ing pub­lic en­ti­ties, the main rea­son be­ing that many hos­pi­tals have not yet sub­mit­ted their bud­gets to the State Gen­eral Ac­count­ing Of­fice. The other main fac­tor is the new au­to­matic fis­cal mon­i­tor­ing mech­a­nism, which de­lays the dis­burse­ment of bud­get credit un­til ex­pen­di­ture has been fully probed. This re­sults in an in­crease in ex­pired debts to the pri­vate sec­tor. In Jan­uary pay­ments were kept down to a min­i­mum even though the cash re­serves of the state amounted to 2.8 bil­lion eu­ros. Con­se­quently, the mar­ket has al­ready been starved of cash since the sec­ond month of the year.

At the same time, the mo­men­tum of bud­get rev­enues ap­pears to have been curbed, but their fig­ure re­mained high thanks to the div­i­dend of the Bank of Greece, which was con­sid­er­ably higher than what the Fi­nance Min­istry had cal­cu­lated.

The net rev­enues of the bud­get came to 7.98 bil­lion eu­ros in the year to end-Fe­bru­ary, 409 mil­lion or 5.4 per­cent higher than the bud­get tar­get. This is to a great ex­tent at­trib­uted to the higher BoG div­i­dend and not the col­lec­tion of more taxes. The div­i­dend col­lected was 334 mil­lion eu­ros above tar­get 1.0631 (734 mil­lion eu­ros).

State ex­pen­di­ture reached 7.91 bil­lion eu­ros, 1.03 bil­lion eu­ros less than the tar­get of 8.94 bil­lion in the first cou­ple of months this year. In Fe­bru­ary, pub­lic spend­ing came to 4.58 bil­lion, while the ex­pen­di­ture of the Pub­lic In­vest­ments Pro­gram failed to meet its tar­get for another month: It came to just 174 mil­lion against a tar­get for 370 mil­lion eu­ros, data showed.

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