The Government overturns a deficit of €250m into a surplus of €250m – the PM
For the third year running the Government has registered a surplus in public finance by accruing more income than committing expenditure.
Eurostat statistics covering all EU Member Countries in line with the pact established by Maastricht shows the Government last year had a surplus of almost €251 million (€250.8) – the equivalent of 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is the second largest surplus among the 28 Member Countries, following Luxembourg that registered a 2.4% surplus.
The Eurostat statistics show Malta to be among 13 EU countries that closed the end of last year with a surplus balance while Romania and Cyprus registered the greatest deficit of more than 3% of their GDP. The figures also show that Malta’s debt has been reduced to 46%, almost 4% less than it was in 2017.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the figures reflect the great progress made in Government finance that has managed to overturn a deficit into a surplus and has rendered finances that were not sustainable into finances that now are.
He said the Government had inherited a deficit of €250 million, which was a 3% deficit but today has a surplus of €250 million, that is, 2% of the economy.
Although the surplus is €136 million less than that of 2017, PM Muscat said the Government manages the economy in a holistic manner by creating benefits. He said the surplus had not been achieved because Government expenditure had been reduced or because taxes were increased but was achieved through strengthening the economy. This, he said, enabled measures such as free childcare and the reduction of taxes.
Dr Muscat said that expenditure has been increased but it is important to ensure that income is always higher than expenditure. He said this is a major principle of economics but also a principle that motivates a sensible family.
He said the surplus had been achieved and had reached a quarter-of-a-million euros despite one of the greatest expenditures made on the country’s infrastructure.
The increase in capital expenditure was 50% more than in the previous year. Had this capital expenditure not been increased, the surplus would have reached half-a-billion euros and this fully underlines the strength of the financial and economic performance of the country.
The Minister for Finance, Edward Scicluna, said the Government’s target is to balance its books. He said the investment from the Citizens’ Investment Programme helps to increase the surplus, but without it, the Government is still capable of ensuring that expenditure does not exceed income.
Malta b’surplus ta’ €251 miljun fl-2018 – it-tieni l-akbar fl-UE