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Public finances in line with budget

Broadly in line: government finances are generally tracking budget projections

The Bermuda Government’s finances are tracking broadly in line with budget estimates for the first six months of the fiscal year.

For the six months ending September 30, the Government’s total expenditure was $584.3 million, just under 50 per cent of its full-year projection of $1.18 billion, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

Total revenue for the six months was $537.5 million, 49.3 per cent of the full-year projection of $1.09 billion.

The deficit for the period was $46.8 million, $12.2 million less than for the same period in 2017. The statement said the deficit was financed by a credit facility with a local financial institution and working capital.

Gross debt at the end of September 2018 stood at $2.619 billion. Net of the Sinking Fund, debt was $2.466 billion.

Debt service costs for the first six months were $93.8 million. This represents $61.7 million in interest payments and a $32.1 million contribution to the Sinking Fund. Debt service to date is on par with last year’s spend. Payroll taxes are tracking slightly above budget estimates and $10.4 million higher than 2017 receipts, while Customs duties are tracking in line with budget estimates but $2.3 million below 2017 receipts.

Government current account spending to date is $1.4 million lower than the same period last year, mainly owing to lower grants and contributions in relation to the America’s Cup, offset by higher salaries and wages.

Capital expenditure was down $1.5 million year-over-year.

Excluding debt service, the Government recorded a $73.5 million current account surplus for the first six months of the year.