By Sotiris Nikas
Budget revenues cast aside their tag of the perennial laggard in September as they exceeded their target by 313 million euros, or 8.3 percent, climbing to 4.08 billion euros, according to data released on Thursday by Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras. Revenues last month exceeded those in September 2012 by 614 million euros, or 17.7 percent.
This development has generated optimism in the ministry that the general government primary surplus will be maintained until the end of the year, after amounting to 1.78 billion euros in the January-August period. In the first seven months the primary surplus stood at 2.4 billion euros.
Staikouras stated that “the estimate that step by step the target is getting closer is growing stronger,” adding that the general government budget of 2013 “will end with a primary surplus.”
According to the course of the budget for the January-August period, the worst-off domains are local authorities, social security funds and hospitals. Local authority revenues – not including state funding – were 37.6 percent lower than in the same period last year, dropping to 1.3 billion euros, after a 10 percent annual increase in spending. Social security funds and hospitals saw their non-state funding revenues fall by 1.3 billion euros, or 8.6 percent, within a year, while expenditure declined by 1.1 percent. Still, both sectors have expanded their primary surplus for the year to end-August thanks to the increase in their funding from the state budget.
The ministry also announced on Thursday the data on the level of state arrears to the private sector, which at end-August amounted to 6.5 billion euros. This constituted a slight improvement on end-July, when arrears added up to 6.7 billion euros. At the start of the year they amounted to 8.8 billion euros.
Social security funds were responsible for more than half of the arrears at end-August (3.6 billion euros).