By Stelios Orphanides
The government’s deficit rose from January to May by 70 per cent to €386.9 million compared with the same period the year before on increased revenue, the statistical service said.
Total revenue in the first five months of the year rose by an annual 7.5 per cent, or €217m, to €2.9 billion, Cystat said in a statement on its website on Friday. The higher revenue resulted mainly from a 21 per cent increase in indirect taxes to €1.3bn, including 15 per cent in value added tax (VAT) collection to €816.8m. Direct tax revenue rose by 8.6 per cent to €759.8m.
Total expenditure rose by 1.3 per cent from January to May to €2.6bn compared with the same 2017 period, Cystat said. The overall increase was on a €26m rise in wages in salaries to €698.2m, €19m in social security payments to €610.6m and €10m in pensions to €233.5m. It was partly offset by a €16m drop in capital expenditure, which fell to €59.7m €15m in current transfers to €573.4m.
In the first five months of the year, the government produced a primary surplus of €544.3m, 47 per cent higher than the year before. The primary balance is the difference between total revenue and spending excluding net interest payments on public debt, which fell by €6m to €159.6m.
The above budget data are not taking into account the bond issued by the government in April in favour of the Cyprus Cooperative bank. The government debt in May rose to by €23.9m to €20.8bn in a month.