By Stelios Orphanides
The government generated a fiscal surplus of €113.9m on a cash basis in the first five months of the year, compared to a €24.6m surplus in the respective period of 2016, the statistical service said.
The increased fiscal surplus in January to May was mainly on a €205m increase in revenue, to almost €2.7bn, which offset a €26m rise in spending, to over €2.5bn, compared to the respective period of 2016, Cystat said in a statement on its website on Friday.
The increase in revenue was mainly on a €120m rise in indirect taxes, to almost €1.1bn, including a €85m increase in value added tax revenue, to €647.8m, Cystat said.
Social security contributions rose by €43m, to €473.1m, reflecting an improvement on the labour market, non-tax revenue by €60m, to €426.8m, and grants by €3m, to €20.7m. Direct tax revenue dropped by €20m, to €694.1m.
The increase in spending mainly represented a €42m rise in expenditure for goods and services, to €142.8m, and current transfers, to €588.3m, in the first five months of the year. It was followed by €18m in wages and salaries, to €672.1m, and €10m in pensions, to €223.7m, Cystat said. Subsidies dropped by €31m, to €35.2m, social security payments fell by €16m, to €591.2m, also reflecting the overall drop in unemployment.
Interest payments on the consolidated general government debt which rose by €270.9m in a year, to €19.3bn last month, fell by €1m, to €175.2m, Cystat said. The primary surplus in January to May which excludes interest payments to public debt rose to €288.7bn, compared to €194.2m, in the respective period of 2016.