Costa Rica’s fiscal deficit dropped 65% during the first two months of this year because of a 33% increase in government income, Finance Minister Guillermo Zúñiga announced March 16.
At the end of February, the fiscal deficit registered $38.9 million, 65% less than during the same period in 2006, when it reached $111 million.
The government’s income at the end of February registered $564.6 million, a 33% increase over the $424.6 million reported during the same period last year.
Its total expenditure, including interest on debt, totaled $603 million, up from the $535.8 million it spent during the first two months of 2006.
Zúñiga lamented that interest on the country’s debt has “eaten up” its efforts to increase income and reduce its deficit.
Among actions the government plans to carry out to continue lowering the deficit include aggressive tax collection, better control of costs to focus on its main priorities and promotion of laws that would create new taxes, such as a tax on luxury residences.
The minister said that although he does not have access to statistics on tax evasion this year, it remains a “serious” problem. The Comptroller General’s Office reported that in 2005, $800 million in taxes went unpaid.