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Government under budget for first half

Government under budget for first half

The government spent far less than half of its approved $5 billion budget for expenditures in 2017 during the first six months of the year, according to a new report by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).

The report, released on Monday, showed the government spent $1.38 billion of its national budget during the first half of 2016, with $1.22 billion going to fiscal expenses and $162 million to cover capital expenses.

The budget, managed by the National Treasury, had a temporary surplus of $590 million. However, the MEF predicted the surplus would decline to around $202 million by the end of the year as government ministries accelerate their spending.

The MEF noted that during the first half of the year, the government generated total revenue of $2.19 billion, a 29 percent increase compared to the same period in 2016.

Fiscal revenue, which is comprised primarily of taxes and customs fees, generated $2.1 billion, while capital revenue that comes from royalty payments and state-owned businesses amounted to $90 million.

Based on the report, the MEF expects to achieve revenue collection 4.2 percent higher than the government mandated target for 2017.