Government deficit at 4.9%, debt at 50.4% of GDP in 2023: NSO

In 2023 deficit, as a proportion of GDP, stood at 4.9%, marking a 0.6 percentage point improvement from the 5.5% deficit recorded in 2022

File photo
File photo

Government registered a deficit of €950.4 million, equivalent to 4.9% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2023, official figures by the National Statistics Office show.

Figures show the debt last year reached €9,767.8 million, equivalent to 50.4% of the GDP.

Deficit improved by €14.4 million over the previous year, with the NSO saying it was determined by subtracting total expenditure (€7,433.5 million) from total revenue (€6,483.0 million).

Between 2023 and 2022, total revenue rose by €581.0 million, and total expenditure increased by €566.7 million.

The deficit, as a proportion of GDP, stood at 4.9%, marking a 0.6 percentage point improvement from the 5.5% deficit recorded in 2022.

Finance Ministry reaction

Reacting to the figures published on Monday, the Ministry for Finance noted that in 2023, both the deficit and the debt as a proportion of the GDP “have once again registered a decrease.”

“The published figures show that our country’s deficit has decreased from 5.5% in 2022 to 4.9% in 2023, which means a reduction of 0.6 percentage points. Debt as a proportion of GDP also recorded a decrease from 51.6% in 2022 to 50.4% in 2023 reflecting a reduction of 1.2 percentage points. These fiscal figures are more positive than those predicted in the last Budget where for the year 2023, it was predicted that the deficit as a percentage of GDP would decrease to 5.0%, while the debt ratio would amount to 52.78%,” it said.

It said the Government’s revenue was higher than the increase in expenditure for yet another year, reflecting the strong increases in employment and consumption. “Thus, despite the several Government aids such as electricity, fuel, gas, and cereal subsidies as well as the implementation of various capital projects including the upgrading of the country’s infrastructure and green projects, among others, the Government still succeeded in reducing the deficit.”

It also noted that the country’s debt compared to the RU debt criteria of 60% is “significantly lower”.

“he improvement in the deficit-to-GDP ratio will continue in the coming years, with a planned fiscal reduction of 0.5% every year as announced by the Minister for Finance Clyde Caruana in the Budget for the year 2024 and in line with the Economic Governance Framework after the agreement reached between the Finance Ministers of the European Union countries during an ECOFIN meeting last January,” the ministry said.