Between January and March 2023, Recurrent Revenue amounted to €1,433.7 million, €285.3 million higher than the value reported a year earlier. The largest increase was recorded under Income Tax (€155.0 million), followed by Grants (€88.9 million), Value Added Tax (€31.7 million), Social Security (€11.3 million), Sales-Others (€8.7 million), Customs and Excise Duties (€5.1 million), Dividends on Investment (€1.7 million), Interest on loans made by Government (€0.3 million), Reimbursements (€0.2 million) and Sales-Services (€0.2 million). On the other hand, lower revenue was reported under Miscellaneous Receipts (€15.9 million), Rents (€1.1 million), Licences, Taxes and Fines (€0.5 million), Sales-Goods (€0.1 million), and Fees of Office (€0.1 million).
Total expenditure during the first quarter of 2023 stood at €1,569.2 million, €49.2 million higher than the previous year.
During the reference period, Recurrent Expenditure totalled €1,403.1 million, an increase of €44.6 million in comparison to the value of €1,358.6 million reported at the end of March 2022. The main contributor to this increase was an increase of €34.2 million reported under Contributions to Government Entities. Higher contributions were, among others, made towards Mental Health Services (€6.5 million), Malta Tourism Authority (€5.1 million), Malta Financial Services Authority (€4.4 million) and Environment and Resources Authority (€3.7 million). Furthermore, increases were also recorded under Operational and Maintenance Expenses (€22.6 million) and Personal Emoluments (€15.0 million). This rise in expenditure outweighed a decrease under Programmes and Initiatives (€27.3 million). The main developments in the Programmes and Initiatives category involved lower outlays towards Pandemic assistance schemes (€59.0 million) and Economic stimulus payment (€48.2 million). Conversely, higher outlay was recorded under Energy support measures (€39.0 million), Social security benefits (€23.3 million), Street lighting and other services (€10.0 million) and EU own resources (€8.9 million).
The interest component of the public debt servicing costs totalled €45.4 million, an increase of €8.6 million when compared to the previous year.
By the end of March 2023, Government’s capital spending amounted to €120.7 million, €4.0 million lower than the figure registered in 2022. This decrease resulted from lower expenditure towards Road construction and improvements (€10.2 million) and Investment incentives (€4.8 million). The drop in capital outlay was partially offset by increases witnessed under Property, plant and equipment (€4.9 million), Digitalisation of health systems (€3.8 million) and National Identity Management Systems (€2.3 million).
The difference between total revenue and expenditure resulted in a deficit of €135.5 million being reported in the Government’s Consolidated Fund at the end of March 2023. Compared to the same period in 2022, there was a decrease in deficit of €236.1 million. This difference mirrors an increase in total Recurrent Revenue (€285.3 million), partly offset by a rise in total expenditure, which consists of increases in Recurrent Expenditure (€44.6 million) and Interest (€8.6 million), and a drop in Capital Expenditure (€4.0 million) (Table 1).
At the end of March 2023, Central Government debt stood at €9,166.4 million, an increase of €700.2 million when compared to 2022. The increase reported under Malta Government Stocks (€781.2 million) was the main contributor to the rise in debt. Higher debt was also reported under Treasury Bills (€46.6 million) and Euro coins issued in the name of the Treasury (€5.0 million). This increase in debt was partially offset by a decrease in the 62+ Malta Government Savings Bond (€99.9 million) and Foreign Loans (€0.1 million). Finally, higher holdings by government funds in Malta Government Stocks resulted in a decrease in debt of €32.7 million (Table 6).
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1. Data in this news release is compiled in order to provide users with regular up-to-date information on the Consolidated Fund of Government. Data are sourced as follows:
i. Revenue and Expenditure, and Public Debt Servicing → The Consolidated Fund, the transactions of which are consolidated at the Treasury.
ii. Central Government Debt (excluding EBUs and Local Councils) → Central Bank of Malta and the Treasury.
All allocations provided from the Consolidated Fund are either authorised by Parliament under an Appropriation Act, or are permanently appropriated by Parliament under other relevant legislation. On the other hand, the Treasury Clearance Fund contains all those funds and accounts the expenses in respect of which are initially defrayable out of public funds and are eventually repayable from the Consolidated Fund or other sources.
2. In this release Revenue and Expenditure categories are recorded in accordance with their presentation in the 2023 Financial Estimates.
3. This news release follows the guidelines set out in the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010) Manual on Government Deficit and Debt. Therefore, the difference between the recurrent revenue and expenditure as listed in Table 1 is essentially the cash-based position as far as the Central Government’s Consolidated Fund is concerned. In this respect, financial transactions, such as proceeds from loans, proceeds from sale of financial assets, and revenue from other accounts of Government are not taken into consideration. Likewise, direct loan repayments, contributions to sinking funds, acquisition of equity, as well as transfers into other accounts of Government, are excluded from the total expenditure.
4. The debt position includes the actual debt which is held by Government. On the other hand, any investments made by Government in its own funds are excluded from the total debt. As from December 2007, the Euro coins issued in the name of the Treasury are considered as a currency liability pertaining to the Central Government.
5. Data in this release are subject to revision. Any revisions to the data are carried out at the first opportunity and published accordingly in the subsequent news release.
6. The Enhanced Economic Governance package adopted by the European Parliament and Council in November 2011 included requirements on the collection and dissemination of fiscal data, through the Council Directive 2011/85/EU. The requirements in the government finance statistics domain included a methodological reconciliation table (showing the transition between monthly data used for national policy purposes and ESA-quarterly data used to produce national accounts and EU fiscal surveillance).
7. Data on Government Expenditure by the Classification of Functions of Government (COFOG) classifies government expenditure data by the purpose for which the funds are used. COFOG data in Table 2 refers to the total expenditure of the Consolidated Fund and is not fully consistent with the General Government sector expenditure by function and in ESA 2010 methodology, that is compiled by NSO on an annual basis with a delay of one year. The functions are in line with the COFOG classifications as published in the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 (ISBN 1-58906-061-X).
8. Tables 4 and 5 present the Consolidated Fund year to date in ESA 2010 codes according to the EU Council Directive 85/2011 requirements.
10. Any quotations from this news release are to be cited and/or referenced.
11. A detailed news release calendar is available online.