NSO: General government deficit revised to 9.7%

Malta's deficit was the third highest in the EU during the pandemic

Malta's general government deficit for 2020 has been revised downwards to 9.7% of GDP from 10.1%, according to figures from the National Statistics Office. 

The overall deficit of the general government amounted to over €1.2 billion in 2020, spending its entire €1.3 billion surplus recorded in the previous year. 

Compared to other Euro area countries, Malta recorded the third highest deficit, behind Spain at 11% deficit and Greece at 10.1%.

Meanwhile, the general government debt amounted to 53.4%, equivalent to €6.9 billion. This was well below the Euro area average of 97.3% of GDP, with Greece and Italy registering the highest government debt ratios. 

Across the bloc, fiscal results for 2020 were largely impacted by government measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For Malta, the main government measures were the €392 million Business Assistance Programme, €160 million tax deferral scheme, and €129 million COVID-19 guarantee scheme. 

Total revenue amounted to €4.7 billion, or 36.25% of GDP. The largest sources of revenue included taxes on income, which comprised 35.7% of total revenue, and taxes on production making up 29.5% of revenue. 

Meanwhile, total expenditure amounted to €5.9 billion, equivalent to 45.9% of GDP. For every €100 spent by government, €26 went to wages while €22 was allocated to social benefits. 

The general government figures are derived by amending the balance of government's consolidated fund, which registered a €1.4 billion deficit in the same period. The adjustments take into consideration the budgetary central government, extra budgetary units and local government sector.