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Sep 5, 2005

Finance Ministry release monthly budget figures

It had been promised as part of government’s agreement with the Unions earlier this year and although it took a while, the Ministry of Finance has published the first of what promises to be a monthly report on G.O.B.’s revenue and expenditure. In its introduction to the first release, which covers April through July, the ministry explains that government has revised its initial target of a three percent overall deficit to a more realistic three point six percent, as it appears that the current belt tightening evident in the July figures, did not begin early enough. A quick look at the numbers suggests that our debt servicing bill–that is the interest paid on all the money we owe–has ballooned dramatically over the amount budgeted and this has had to be largely offset by equally drastic cuts in capital spending–used for projects like new roads, bridges, schools and other things that improve our lives. And while the official position can only be described as stressed, a recent report published by the Central Statistical Office says that the nation’s economy, led by record citrus production, grew at a healthy four point four percent rate during the first six months of the calendar year and that even adjusting for the slowdown in government spending, the growth rate for the full year is still expected to reach between three and four percent.

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