Govt. revenue, expenses up in December quarter

Total Government revenue collection for the December quarter of 2020 reached $210.6 million an increase of some $25 million compared to the year prior, new figures show. 

The figures were revealed in a recent report titled: “Government Finances Statistics” for the December 2020 quarter issued by the Samoa Statistics Bureau.

The report found the increase was mostly led by a $41.5 million growth in grants but was also accompanied by an increase in the now-caretaker Government'ss spending. 

The report states total revenue also increased by $20.8 million (or 11 per cent) when compared to the previous quarter of September last year. 

The report found tax collection accounted for two-thirds of the Government's source of income, totalling $138.6 million in the period under review despite declining by 13 per cent.

Grants received from overseas donor partners were the second-largest source of revenue in December 2020. They increased notably in the period and contributed $53.8 million or 25.5 per cent to total revenues with the remaining $18.2 million (8.7 per cent) from Other Revenues.

Government budget operations for the December 2020 quarter recorded a surplus of $46.0 million operating balance the report found

This was a result of the increase of $25 million (or 13 per cent) in revenue which more than offset a $10.2 million increase in operating expenses in the quarter under review.

The ratio of the nation's net lending to borrowing also reached positive territory and recorded a surplus of $29.0 million. It increased by $23.6 million on a year-on-year basis (compared to the December 2019 quarter). This was attributed mainly to the increase in grants from donor partners to assist the Samoan Government's Response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Total expenditure amounted to $181.6 million for the quarter. Spending consisted mainly of operating expenses at $164.6 million (98.1 per cent) while expenditure on fixed asset acquisitions was $17 million a less than 1 per cent decline on a quarterly basis.

The completion of major civil works such as bridges, roads, and other infrastructure contributed to the asset spending decline.

Government operating expenses increased by $15.2 million or 10.2 per cent compared to the December 2019 quarter. 

This was mainly attributed to an 8.7 per cent increase in wages and salaries which account for 42.9 per cent of Government expenses. 

By contrast, the use of goods and services which accounted for 28.1 per cent of total expenses declined slightly in the period studied. Interest paid, subsidies and social benefits - which represent 5.2 per cent of total operating expenses - all declined in the period. When compared to the previous quarter operating expenses further increased by $18.2 million. 

In terms of Government spending by function, most of the resources were invested on the four main sectors of the economy such as general public services, economic affairs, health and education sectors with each receiving respective shares of 22.0 per cent, 24.4 per cent, 17.0 per cent and 14.3 per cent of the total.

The remaining 22.3 per cent was spent on the other sectors such as public order and safety and environmental protection. 

Economic affairs were the largest single share of total expenditure and received $44.3 million from the Government, down by $13.2 million when compared to the same quarter the year before. Of this amount, $21.7 million was allocated to the agriculture sector, $11.4 million to transport and the remainder was disbursed to other sectors.

Public services including financial affairs received $40 million from the Government; $22.0 million higher than its share in December 2019. Health spending accounted for $30.9 million or 17.0 per cent of the total and increased by $4.5 million compared to the same quarter the year before. 

Government spending on the education sector amounted to $26.0 million, an increase of $2.1 million on a yearly bas

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