BUSINESS

Primary surplus rises to 3.2 billion euros

By Sotiris Nikas

The general government budget produced a considerably higher primary surplus in the first seven months of the year compared with the same period in 2013, allowing the coalition to raise the subject of lightening the tax load on citizens. However, there are concerns about the significant decline in revenues and the sliding surpluses of social security funds, local authorities and others.

Finance Ministry data showed on Wednesday that the primary surplus in the year to end-July amounted to 3.2 billion euros, against 1.8 billion a year earlier.

“This development constitutes a clear indication that the country’s public finances are stablizing with the securing of primary surpluses. This is creating the necessary base for the growth of the economy with social justice and cohesion,” Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras stated.

That said, the ministry is worried about the course of revenues at social security funds, municipalities and state companies. In the first seven months of 2014 the funds’ revenues dropped to 20 billion euros from 23.2 billion a year earlier, those at local authorities fell to 3.5 billion from 3.8 billion in 2013, while state companies saw their revenues decline to 2.7 billion euros from 3.5 billion.

This led to contractions in the surpluses of all those bodies, but the situation on the surface was saved as the primary surplus of the state budget soared from 1.2 billion euros last year to 2 billion.

Expired debts owed by the state also decreased at the end of July, thanks to the payment of a significant part of the debts of the former primary health provision organization (EOPYY) to its suppliers. Expired debts amounted to 4.6 billion euros in July, compared to 5.2 billion in June.

Data also showed that the national debt rose at end-July to 323.9 billion euros, from 321.4 billion at the start of the year.

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