In the first four months of 2014 the deficit of the Government’s Consolidated Fund amounted to €238.2 million, the National Statistics Office revealed, widening the shortfall between recurrent revenue and total expenditure by €55.2 million

Recurrent revenue stood at €881.1 million, an increase of €53.3 million, or 6.4%, from 2013. Expenditure went up by €108.5 million when compared to the corresponding period last year, this lead to a widening of the shortfall between revenue and expenditure by €55.2 million.

The main contributors to the increase in recurrent revenue were Income Tax (€29.5 million), Value Added Tax (€25.4 million) and Social Security Contributions (€17.8 million). Conversely, Grants registered a decline of €30.5 million.

Compared to January-April last year, higher spending was registered in recurrent expenditure and interest payments, which was only partially offset by lower outlays on capital projects, resulting in an increase in total expenditure of €108.5 million.

Recurrent expenditure increased by €113.6 million, mainly as a result of higher spending on Programmes and Initiatives (€66.8 million) and Contributions to Government Entities (€22.5 million). The major increases registered in the Programmes and Initiatives category were for medicines and surgical materials (€13.5 million), EU Own Resources (€9.7 million), the contribution to church schools (€9.4 million) and the assistance to help the elderly live independently (€7.7 million). Conversely, social security benefits went down by €13.3 million. In addition, Operational and Maintenance Expenditure went up by €13.9 million and Personal Emoluments rose by €10.4 million.

The interest component of the public debt servicing costs for the period under review rose to €72.2 million from €70.3 million last year.

Expenditure on Government’s capital projects amounted to €117.4 million. The decline of €7.0 million over the corresponding period last year was mainly the result of a lower equity injection to the national air carrier (€25.0 million), which was partially outweighed by a higher contribution towards the treasury clearance fund (€14.7 million), among others.

At the end of April, Central Government debt stood at €5,295.4 million, up by €359.1 million over the corresponding period last year. This was the result of higher Long-term and Short- term Borrowing, which added €257.3 million and €79.2 million respectively. On the other hand, foreign borrowing went down by €10.7 million. As a result of consolidation, lower holdings by government funds in MGSs brought about an increase in debt of €29.1 million. The euro coins issued in the name of the Maltese Treasury went up by €4.3 million when compared to the coin stock as at the end of April 2013, and totalled €55.4 million.

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