Budget posts primary surplus of 2.07 bln euros in Jan-Feb 2014

By Prokopis Hatzinikolaou

The first two months of the year posted a 2.072-billion-euro primary surplus despite the shortfall in tax revenues, as budget execution figures are now coming in positive on a regular basis.

The provisional data released on Tuesday by Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras indicated that the difference between revenues and expenditure excluding interest payments bettered the target set for the January-February period by over 1 billion euros and was 1.585 billion euros higher than that recorded a year earlier. The two-month primary surplus amounted to 1.1 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Budget revenues came to 7.87 billion euros, missing the target by 575 million. This shortfall is being covered by inflows from the European Union, which have increased by 1 billion euros, as well as the significant containment of public spending.

The state budget surplus amounted to 495 million euros against a deficit of 788 million euros in the same period last year. The target for this year had been for a deficit of 527 million euros.

Faster procedures have led to a major increase in tax rebates for enterprises and taxpayers: These amounted to 497 million euros in the January-February period against just 96 million in the same period last year. The target set had been for 193 million euros. Total rebates, including those for the previous financial years, amounted to 3.7 billion euros – 420 million euros higher than the previous year.

Primary spending amounted to 6.4 billion euros – i.e. 791 million euros less than the target and 1.3 billion euros below last year’s expenditure. In February alone primary spending was 9 percent below the figure for February 2013.