Recently released figures show that Government’s finances are still firmly in the black, due mainly to higher than forecast revenues from duties, fees and Government charges. For the six months ending 30 June 2019, the entire public sector (that is, core Government and statutory authorities and Government-owned companies) achieved a surplus of $201 million, verses the budgeted amount of $122 million, which equals to a 65 per cent higher than expected budget surplus.
In a statement, Government said that revenue from levies, duties, fees and government charges were recorded at $499 million, which is $51 million more than budgeted expectations.
One revenue stream that continues to provide a steady strong income for Government is that of levies on goods and services, including bank and trust licences and tourist accommodation charges, which came in at $20 million. In particular, tourism levies were up because of the continuation of record high visitor arrivals by air, which has played a significant part in pumping up Government revenue streams with stayover visitors paying Government taxes on their hotel stays. In addition, import duties reached $18 million, and levies on property, primarily stamp duties on land transfers, stood at $13 million.
Government said it was also sticking to its fiscal policy that has meant maintaining high cash and deposit balances held by core government. To this effect, operating cash and deposits were $522 million at the end of the second quarter, while reserves and restricted deposits were $168 million, resulting in a total cash and deposits balance of a healthy $690 million. At the same time, Government said it was keeping tight fiscal management of its prior borrowings so its debt position continues to be favourably impacted. There have been no new borrowings since 2011, they advised, and borrowings were being paid off, with $13 million in debt principal repayments being made during the six-month period, $10 million of which was repaid in the 1 April to 30 June period.
Finance and Economic Development Minister, Roy McTaggart, said he was pleased to see the continuing positive performance of the Entire Public Sector’s finances.
“We will maintain prudent fiscal management and stewardship throughout the year to ensure that we generate a substantial surplus in government’s finances at year-end, so that we can continue to pay off our debts and invest in government’s priorities,” he stated.