Revenues lag far behind target set in 2004 budget

Public revenues are lagging far behind 2004 budget estimates, according to the latest figures released yesterday by the General Accounting Office. During the first eight months of the year, revenues increased 4.4 percent compared to the same period last year. The target was for a revenue increase of 8.5 percent, which now appears unattainable. Preliminary data that include September revenues indicate that, over the first three quarters, the revenue increase is 4.5 percent. At the same time, spending, boosted by the delayed completion of Olympic projects and pre-election handouts before the March national elections and June’s European Parliament elections, has increased 14 percent over the first eight months of the year. That is lower than the revised target of 14.6 percent for the year as a whole but far higher than the 4.8 percent target set by the previous government when it unveiled the 2004 budget a year ago. Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Petros Doukas said yesterday new revenue-generating schemes, such as sale and lease-back of public property, are needed.