By Stelios Orphanides
The general government generated a fiscal surplus of €62.5m on a cash basis in the first six months of the year mainly on increased revenue, which outstripped a rise in spending, against a €42.5m deficit a year before, the finance ministry said.
Total revenue rose 8.2 per cent year-on-year in H1, or €245m to over €3.2bn, the finance ministry said in a statement on its website. The increase resulted mainly from an increase in indirect tax revenue by €160m, to €1.4bn, which included a €98m increase in value added tax, to €802.5m.
Direct tax revenue dropped by €29m, to €822.7m, while social security contributions and non-tax revenue rose by €53m, to €563.2m, and €58, to €475.5m respectively.
Government spending rose an annual 3.8 per cent, or €116m, in the first six months of the year, to €3.2bn, the ministry said. The increase in spending was mainly on a €55m rise in interest payments, to €279.3m. This increase in interest payments appears to be related to the June government bond issue and debt buybacks as in January to May, interest payments had decreased by almost €1m compared to the respective period last year.
Spending on goods and services, wages and salaries, and current transfers, rose by €37m, to €190.6m, €23m, to €811.1m, and €13m, to €687.3m respectively, the ministry said. Subsidies dropped by €31m, to €39.1m, while pensions, social pensions, social security payments and non-allocated expenditure rose by €10, to €271.5m, €1m, to €32.5m, €2m, to €778.3m, and €4m, to €12.4m respectively.
The primary surplus, which is the difference between total revenue and spending excluding interest payments, rose by almost €111m, to €287.5, the ministry said.