Every month the Public Finance Unit publishes a news release on Government Finance data in order to provide users with regular up-to-date information on the Consolidated Fund of the Government. This news release follows guidelines set out in the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010) and the Manual on Government Deficit and Debt. Therefore, the shortfall between revenue and expenditure is essentially the cash-based deficit position as far as the Central Government’s Consolidated Fund is concerned. In this respect, revenue that has no impact on the deficit, such as proceeds from loans, proceeds from sale of financial assets, and revenue from other accounts of Government, is 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.
The debt position includes the actual debt held by Government. On the other hand, any investments made by the 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.
Government finance data is compiled using administrative sources collected on a monthly basis. These are the ‘Revenue and Expenditure, and Public Debt’ data from The Consolidated Fund (the transactions of which are consolidated at the Treasury) and the ‘Central Government Debt (excluding EBUs and Local Councils)’ data from the 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.
Accuracy and reliability of data
Quality of data is assured as all accounts in administrative sources are coded in accordance with the requirements of the ESA 2010. Checks with previous months and with the current economic scenario are undertaken. Data is also checked with the monthly Consolidated Fund data in ESA 2010 published as a requirement of the Council Directive 85/2011.
Timeliness and punctuality of data
A news release on government finance data is published on a monthly basis as scheduled in the Advance Release Calendar. Data for a particular reference period, January to month m, is published in month m+1.
Accessibility and clarity of data
‘Government Finance Data’ news releases are published on the NSO’s website.
Data on government finance data is available also on the NSO’s statistical database (StatDB).
Coherence and comparability/consistency of data
Data on Government Expenditure by the Classification of Functions of Government (COFOG) classifies government expenditure data by the purpose for which funds are used. COFOG data in Table 3 of the news release refers to the total expenditure of the Consolidated Fund and is not fully consistent with the General Government sector expenditure by function, which is compiled by NSO on an annual basis with a delay of one year. The functions are in line with the COFOG classification as published in the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001.
Data is comparable from 1995 onwards. Prior to year 2008 the unit of measure was the Maltese Lira (Lm) and the conversion rate to euro used was the fixed rate of 0.4293.