Revenues fall short of target

Budget revenues in the first five months of the year rose 5.3 percent year-on-year, falling well short of the targeted 12.1 percent annual growth rate, the Finance Ministry said yesterday. Official data showed that revenues rose to 20.43 billion euros versus 19.4 billion in the same period a year earlier. Finance Ministry sources said the difference is due to seasonal factors, pointing out that budget revenues trailed annual targets in May last year. Greece is aiming to lower its budget deficit to 1.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008 from a 2.7 percent deficit last year. Budget plans had been prepared on a targeted 4 percent GDP expansion rate which has since been revised downward to 3.6 percent. On a monthly basis, tax revenues advanced 2.1 percent to 4.6 billion euros. Revenue from VAT taxes jumped 11 percent year-on-year to 856 million euros.