End-February budget figures looking good

By Sotiris Nikas

According to the 2014 budget, the Greek state achieved a 2.06-billion-euro primary surplus in the first couple of months, which is over 1 billion euros higher than the set target of 1.04 billion, despite a 580-million-euro revenues shortfall.

State General Accounting Office data showed on Monday that trebling revenues from the Public Investments Program and slashing expenditure by 844 million euros resulted in a better-than-expected budget performance up to end-February. This was despite the more than twofold increase in tax rebates completed by the Finance Ministry compared to what had been planned.

However significant problems exist as regards revenues from direct taxes (mostly corporate income tax) and indirect taxes on fuel. Corporate tax fetched 191 million euros less, taxpayers paid 131 million euros less in income tax, direct taxation from previous years brought in 94 million euros less, property tax revenues were 71 million euros off the target, while there was a 218-million-euro hole in takings from value-added tax on fuel and on the special consumption tax on energy products. Other consumption taxes also produced a 93-million-euro shortfall and tobacco VAT revenues were found to be lagging by 21 million.