BUSINESS

Primary surplus for 2016 close to 2 pct

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Finance

Budget revenues continued their ascent last month, according to Finance Ministry figures released on Tuesday, leading to the conclusions that the 12-month result will be above the ministry’s original projections and the primary surplus could be almost twice as high as expected.

The provisional data show that the revenues beat their target for the first 11 months of the year by 2.44 billion euros, reaching 44.585 billion euros. In November alone revenues amounted to 4.5 billion euros, a trend set to continue in the last month of the year.

It appears that the ministry has underestimated revenue collection for the whole of 2016, as it will take just 3.4 billion euros for the latest target of 48 billion euros to be met. This is according to the final draft of the 2017 budget that is scheduled to be voted by Parliament on Saturday.

If one takes into account the momentum of revenues in the second half of the year and the amount collected last December (5.8 billion euros), one can assume that this month’s revenues will exceed the revised target and take the primary surplus of the year far above the target of 1.1 percent of gross domestic product. It is likely to come close to 2 percent of GDP instead. However, ministry officials say that in the case of extraordinary expenditure, there is a possibility that the primary surplus will not reach 2 percent of GDP.

This month taxpayers have to pay the fourth installment of the Single Property Tax (ENFIA), expected at 750 million euros, and road tax, amounting to 1.1 billion. Corporations must pay the usual tax deducted from salaries and value-added tax, while the ministry is also expecting growth in sales of heating oil to bring in more revenues, given the hike in the special consumption tax from 0.23 euros per liter to 0.28 this year.

Still, tax returns in November missed their target by 12.72 percent, amounting to 295 million euros. In the year to end-November tax returns amounted to 2.71 billion euros, against a target for 2.86 billion.

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