The Greek central government attained a primary budget surplus of 3.05 billion euros in the first seven months of 2017, beating its target by 955 million euros thanks to lower spending, finance ministry data showed on Monday.
The central government surplus excludes the budgets of social security organizations and local administration. It is different from the figure monitored by Greece’s EU/IMF lenders but still an indicator of the state of the country’s finances.
The government’s target was for a primary budget surplus – which excludes debt-servicing costs – of 2.09 billion euros for the first seven months of the year.
Net tax revenue came in at 26.3 billion euros, 656 million euros below target, while spending reached 27.5 billion euros, below a target of 28.6 billion euros.
The main reason for beating the primary surplus targets is the government’s longtime practice of freezing all tax and various other refunds to citizens and private businesses indefinitely.
The government is aiming for a general government primary budget surplus of 1.9% of GDP this year, based on its medium term fiscal strategy plan. The bailout target is for a primary surplus of 1.75% of GDP.