Government’s financial report for the nine months to the end of September have just been published, showing a $111.3 million surplus for the Core Government and a $116.6 million surplus for the Entire Public Sector (EPS). Net assets of the Government were $2.2 billion, with overall bank account balances of $582.1 million in cash and deposits.
The EPS Surplus was $47.1 million greater than projected, which government attributed to actual revenues being higher than budgeted revenues by $49.5 million for the period. SAGCs contributed $5.4 million to the overall surplus for the EPS, exceeding their estimated results for the first three quarters of 2023 by $19.7 million, the report said.
Comparing year-on-year numbers, the EPS Surplus was $34.8 million higher than that achieved for the same period in 2022 with SAGC third quarter results being $20.6 million higher than the prior year.
Compared to the same period in 2022, total revenues of Core Government had increased by $28.2 million, mainly due to favourable variances of $26.7 million and $19.9 million in Coercive Revenue and Investment Revenue, respectively. These came about because financial services fees collected by CIMA were up CI$2.6 million for the Government, due to an increase in the volume of registered funds resulting in higher mutual fund fees of $3.5 million and private funds fees of $2.7 million. This was offset by securities and investment business licence fees being $3.3 million less than budget expectations, due to the growth rate of the registered persons regime being less than anticipated. When compared to actual results for the same period last year, the 2023 financial services fees collected by CIMA saw a 0.3% decline.
Work permit revenues collected were $83.1 million, which was $12.6 million greater than projected and $4.0 million greater than the revenues for the same period in 2022. Tourism-related revenues were up $14.7 million, reflecting the increase in stay-over tourism following the reopening of the borders in 2022. Compared to actual results for the same period in 2022, the 2023 revenues were $25.0 million more.
However, there were certain areas that fell short of projected expectations, including a drop of $16.3 million for all import duty categories, with actual import duty revenue received $174.5 million; and a drop of $10.7 million in financial services fees collected by the General Registry Department, which included company fees payable by exempt companies being lower than expected by $7.7 million due to a decline in the growth rate of the number of companies in this category.
Investment revenues produced $21.2 million, which was $19.9 million more than the budgeted revenue for the period and an $14.7 million increase on last year. Higher cash balances held by the Government meant larger balances were placed on fixed deposits, resulting in higher interest payments.
Expenses for the first six months of 2023 were $734.9 million, $22.1 million higher than the year-to-date budget of $712.8 million. Compared to the prior year-to-date actuals, total expenses for 2023 were $14.0 million higher.
Costs relating to personnel for the first nine months of 2023 were $323.6 million, $20.7 million less than the budgeted $344.3, million mainly due to delayed recruitment. These costs were $22.9 million more than the same period in 2022, mainly driven by cost-of-living adjustments awarded later in 2022.
Supplies and consumables costs were $102.0 million for the period and were $2.6 million less than the year-to-date budget. Compared to the prior year-to-date costs of $91.3 million, the 2023 expenses were $10.7 million more. As more projects come online during the remaining quarter of 2023, costs will align closer to the amounts anticipated in the full-year budget, the report said.
The savings against budget in staff costs were offset by higher-than-budgeted levels of expenditure in outputs from SAGCs by $12.6 million, outputs from non-governmental suppliers by $21.7 million, and transfer payments by $10.3 million.
Payments to CINICO and the HSA exceeded their original year-to-date budgets by $3.8 million and $8.6 million, respectively. The CINICO’s $3.8 million drop was because actual costs for the health insurance for civil service pensioners exceeded the budget for that category. Most of the drop for the HSA was due to actual costs for the care of indigents exceeding the budget for this category by $8.8 million.
Outputs from non-governmental suppliers of $60.0 million were $21.7 million more than the year-to-date original budget, mainly due to costs relating to healthcare for people who are uninsured or under-insured (known as NGS 55) being $24.5 million more than the year-to-date budget of $16.2 million.
The total cost incurred with respect to outputs from non-governmental suppliers, were $4.9 million more than the same 2022 nine-month expenditure of $55.1 million.
Parliament has approved an additional $30.8 million for NGS 55 so far this year.
Transfer payments of $50.0 million were $10.3 million more than budgeted mainly due to overages in spending on scholarships and bursaries expenditure by $10.5 million and financial assistance by $4.1 million.
When compared to the prior year-to-date amount of $73.4 million, the 30 September 2023 total year-to-date expenditure of $50.0 million represented a decrease of $23.4 million.
Total cash and fixed deposits as at 30 September 2023, were $582.1 million, which included operating cash of $405.7 million with $388.0 million held in the form of fixed deposits and reserves and restricted cash balances of $176.4 million, which is all held in the form of fixed deposits.
The third quarter’s performance had positioned the Government to be optimistic about its financial performance for 2023, the report said, but it acknowledged that during the final quarter of the year there would be a push to meet planned 2023 objectives and advised that the resulting costs would have to be diligently monitored to ensure spending is not incurred unnecessarily. The report also highlighted that Core Government revenues had to exceed the performance of $978.1 million set-out in the original 2023 budget to reach the revised target of $1.037 billion detailed in the Strategic Policy Statement tabled in Parliament on 26 April, 2023.