Malta records ‘largest decrease in debt and the highest surplus in the EU’
by Yashica, on Jan 24, 2019 1:50:46 PM
The latest public finance statistics published by Eurostat was received by the ministry of Finance earlier on Monday, 21st January.
Malta recorded the highest fiscal surplus (3.8%) along with the largest decrease in its debt-to-GDP ratio (-3.1 p.p) amongst the 28 EU member states in third quarter of 2018.
Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna said that such records continue to
“keep Malta at the top of the EU’s fiscal ranking, thanks to the number of structural reforms undertaken by this government during the last six years.”
As per the National Statistics Office (NSO), the government recorded a surplus of of €127.8 million, as total revenue increased to €1,234.5 million, while total expenditure increased to €1,106.7 million.
The increase in revenue was boosted by significant growth in revenue from both direct and indirect taxes reflecting the record increases in employment and the robust growth in private consumption.
The increases in expenditure mainly reflected the expense on the income tax relief budget measure, on education and social benefits, as well as on wages and salaries reflecting the enhanced collective agreements of public sector employees.
Additional expenditure was allocated to cover the Malta’s Own Resources transfers to the EU and EU funds transfers to entities outside government.
Consequently, the General Government debt for the same period decreased both in absolute terms and in per cent of GDP. Indeed, the debt-to-GDP ratio fell to 45.9%, reflecting a €325.9 million decrease in national debt to €5,512.0 million.
This is well below the 60% benchmark set by the EU.
Simultaneously, Government guaranteed debt decreased by €338.4 million from €1,422.3 to €1,083.9 million, both when compared to the corresponding quarter of 2017 – a total decrease of €664.3 million to mark the largest decrease to ever be recorded by a Maltese Government.