Slovakia posted a government deficit of 4.8 percent of GDP in 2011 and its gross public debt reached 43.3 percent of gross domestic product according to preliminary figures released by the Statistics Office and the Finance Ministry in using the methodology of the European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA 95) that have now been sent to Eurostat, the EU’s statistical agency, the TASR newswire reported.
Eurostat will now double check the data and will release official figures on public finances in all EU member countries on April 23. The Finance Ministry said the country’s public finances were subject to two main one-off influences last year: debts from state-run railway companies and hospitals of €633 million from 2008-2010 that had a negative impact equivalent to 0.8 percent of GDP. A VAT payment of €174 million by GRANVIA construction company on construction of the R1 expressway had a favourable impact of 0.2 percent of GDP.
The ministry noted that the budget deficit was cut from 7.7 percent of GDP in 2010 to last year's 4.8 percent. "If it wasn't for the one-off influences referred to previously, the drop in the deficit would be from 8.13 percent of GDP in 2010 to 4.15 percent the following year," TASR wrote in quoting the ministry.
The ministry added that in comparison with the planned 2012 deficit, major improvements were reached by savings in areas such as Slovakia's co-financing of projects with EU funds (€227 million) and better management at Sociálna Poisťovňa, the social insurer, bringing savings of €186 million while additional expenditures related to the state-owned railway companies amounted to €200 million.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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