Disagreement over 2011 deficit

By Sotiris Nikas

The disagreement between the calculations of the Finance Ministry and the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) regarding last year?s deficit is doing nothing to help the image of Greek statistics.

ELSTAT has already submitted to Eurostat its data which put the 2011 budget deficit at 9.1 percent of the country?s gross domestic product. The competent agencies of the ministry, however, estimate the deficit at 8.8 percent of GDP, which constitutes a difference of some 600 million euros.

In any case, the process of examining the data for last year?s deficit has not been completed yet, as checks regarding the quality of the data will continue until April 23, when Eurostat will make its official announcement.

The difference between the two state authorities is attributed to different estimates for elements such as the interest Greece paid last year. In both cases though the deficit appears smaller than forecast, as the supplementary budget submitted in Parliament in February had the deficit at 9.2 percent.