The dividend from the Bank of Greece, the increased inflow of resources from the European Union and the drastic containment of state spending made a decisive contribution to the state budget posting a primary surplus of almost 3.04 billion euros in the first couple of months of the year, according to figures released by the Finance Ministry on Wednesday.
This was despite the shortfall in tax revenues, as, just like last year, the basic revenue sources failed to fetch the money anticipated – which is why the country’s creditors are asking for taxes on incomes and properties to be increased, so that the budget does not rely so heavily on revenues from dividends and stamp duties.
The data showed that the primary surplus amounted to 3.038 billion euros in January and February, exceeding the 1.97-billion-euro target. That was thanks to the higher BoG dividend (775 million euros against a forecast 450 million), stamp duties and commissions, and the revenues of the Public Investments Program, which amounted to 1.52 billion euros, or 642 million above target.
The budget’s net revenues came to 9.62 billion euros, beating the target by 961 million or 11.1 percent. However, tax revenues posted a shortfall of 148 million, mainly due to the smaller-than-anticipated takings from the Single Property Tax (ENFIA) and other property taxation, which came in a remarkable 22.1 percent or 218 million euros lower. On the other hand, personal income tax produced 39 million more that expected.
State spending came to 8.3 billion euros, against a target for 9.28 billion, thereby saving 975 million euros.