BUSINESS

No sign of cessation in growth of state debts

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Finance

State debts to third parties continued to swell in March, as official figures released by the Finance Ministry on Monday showed a 200-million-euro increase in the state’s arrears to its suppliers and taxpayers. This also partly explains the significant rise in the primary budget surplus recorded in March.

Data showed that state debts grew to 6.67 billion euros at the end of March, from 6.48 billion at end-February, while all signs point to this figure growing further in the following months. That figure breaks down to 5.57 billion euros owed to third parties for over 90 days, and 1.1 billion euros owed to taxpayers in rebates.

Social security funds owe more than half of all the state debts to suppliers, amounting to 2.88 billion euros in March, against 2.76 billion at end-2015. Hospitals owe 1.15 billion euros, against 1.09 billion in December 2015, and local authorities owe 358 million euros, from 298 million three months earlier. The other state organization owe a sum of 540 million euros.

Besides those debts, there is also the sum of the outstanding applications for value-added tax (VAT) rebates, which according to the data from the General Secretariat of Public Revenue amount to 959.6 million euros. Some of the applications have been pending for up to 1,377 days.

The general government budget showed a primary surplus of 3.22 billion euros in March, against 1.1 billion euros in the same month last year. Finance Ministry figures revealed that this improvement is due to the major reduction in state spending and the increase in Public Investment Program revenues.

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