The Greek government reported a larger-than-expected primary budget deficit of € 6.21 billion in the first four months of the year, due to lower tax revenues, finance ministry data showed on Monday.
The government is targeting a primary budget deficit, which does not include debt service costs, of € 5.24 billion for the January-April period.
“The budget did not take into account the protracted lockdowns of the first 4 months of 2021, so the deficit was expected and largely limited,” Deputy Finance Minister Teodor Skalakakis said at a briefing.
Greece has extended its restrictions on Covid-19 several times since last year to contain the spread of the pandemic that wreaked havoc on its economy shortly after the country emerged from a decade-long debt crisis.
Data for the first four months of 2021 showed that total budget revenues reached 15.477 million euros, 3% below the government’s target. In April, tax revenues fell by 8% per annum.
The government expects the main budget deficit to be 7% of gross domestic product this year due to financial support provided to mitigate economic losses from the pandemic.
However, the country is forecasting a zero deficit next year, as government support is to be phased out as the economy recovers and funds flow from the European Union’s multibillion-dollar recovery package.
Greece expects its economy to grow 3.6% this year after falling 8.2% last year, with growth to rise to 6.2% in 2022. But the primary data already show the impracticability of these plans.