Gov’t reduces investment to fund delayed handouts

Gov’t reduces investment to fund delayed handouts

Public investments appear to have been sacrificed this year on the altar of budget surplus overruns and handouts. According to the official data on budget execution for the first 11 months of the year, Public Investment Program spending missed its target by 818 million euros.

Although the 2018 budget stated that the goal of investing 6.75 billion will be attained this year, the government had also claimed last year that it would meet the public investment target, before conceding that investment fell short by about 460 million euros.

Curiously, in the first 11 months, budget figures show a reduction in handouts to vulnerable social groups, mainly due to delays in issuing decisions. The heating oil subsidy, for example, is 41 percent down one month before the year ends.

Based on all of the above and the general containment of expenditure by 1.73 billion euros, the budget’s primary surplus amounted to 4.64 billion euros in the year to end-November, against a primary surplus of 5.75 billion in the same period last year.

Net budget revenues missed their target by 158 million euros or 0.3 percent.