The first six months of the year saw a reduction in government spending almost across the board at the cost of the public investment program, in order to achieve a record primary surplus, Finance Ministry data on the state’s spending targets show.
In total, the government spent 22.4 billion euros, which was 1.1 billion euros, or 4.9 percent less, than the budget target. Of this sum, ordinary budget expenditure, excluding interest, was 515 million euros, or 2.5 percent, short of the target, while expenditure on the public investment program was just 594 million, or 39.1 percent, below target.
This way, the government is gradually creating a surplus that it intends to distribute this year as a so-called “social dividend,” a one-off benefit, as it did in 2016 and 2017.Kathimerini understands that the government intends to hype up these benefits, perhaps more so than the planned tax cuts for 2019, in light of the upcoming elections.
The data on state budget expenditure for the first semester would support the estimate that Greece is on the path this year to achieving a record primary surplus above the target of 3.56 percent of GDP, which could amount to 900 million euros.