Malta records ‘highest surplus and largest decrease in debt in the EU’

January 24, 2019 | 2 minute read

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The Ministry of Finance received the latest public finance statistics published by Eurostat.
The statistics by the Eurostat showed that in Q3/2018, 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
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.”

According to the National Statistics Office (NSO), the Maltese government recording a surplus of of €127.8 million, as total revenue increased by €75.3 million from €1,159.2 million to €1,234.5 million, while total expenditure increased by €103.2 million from €1,003.5 million to €1,106.7 million, both when compared to Q3/2017. 
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.
On the expenditure side, the increases mainly reflected the expenditures 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 from €5,837.9 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.

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