Budget deficit up 9.0% in Jan-Feb

The Greek government on Friday reported a budget deficit of 1.028 billion euros in the January-February period this year, up 9.0 pct compared with a deficit of 944 million euros recorded in the corresponding period last year. This year’s budget envisages a 3.9-pct decline in the budget deficit.

A finance ministry report said net revenues totaled 7.943 billion euros in the first two months of 2011, down 9.2 pct from the same period last year, in contrast with a budget provision for an annual growth rate of 8.5 pct.

The ministry attributed the decline in budget revenues to "technical reasons". The ministry had offered an extension in paying for car registration duties last year, while an extra tax charge on profitable enterprises raised 99 million euros less than in 2010, while lower revenues from withholding income tax in the January-February period were also reported.

Budget spending was up 3.3 pct in the first two months of the year, down from a budget provision for an annual growth rate of 6.6 pct.

The Public Investments Programme recorded a 356.4-pct jump in revenues and a 67.9-pct decline in spending. The finance ministry, in an announcement, said the figures covered only budget execution figures and not fiscal data for the general government’s deficit, criterion for evaluating progress of an Economic Policy Programme in Greece.

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