The government registered a financial surplus of $64 million during the first half of 2007, according to Finance Minister Guillermo Zúñiga, who July 19 called this figure an “optimistic” sign of the country’s financial outlook and said he is “very satisfied.”
The minister attributed the surplus to an improvement in tax collection and controlled spending in priority areas.
Finance Ministry statistics indicate that the government’s income as of June was $1.8 billion, an increase over the same period in 2006, when it registered $1.4 billion.
The government’s total spending including interest on debt reached $1.7 billion from January to June, an increase over the $1.4 billion registered during this period in 2006.
The government’s main income so far this year has been customs taxes ($680.5 million), followed by income tax ($448.4 million) and sales tax ($348.5 million), among other taxes.
Zúñiga said 51.8% more income taxes were collected during the first six months of this year compared to last year thanks to an initiative to enforce tax collection.
The government’s main spending was on remuneration ($633.6 million), followed by interest on debt ($433 million) and pensions ($248.8 million), among other costs.
The minister said that, excluding interest on debt, the country generated a financial surplus of a little more than $497 million.
Despite these positive figures, Zúñiga said it is almost certain Costa Rica will close out 2007 with a financial deficit, since during the second half of the year the government must pay aguinaldos, the mandatory year-end bonuses, and invest more in pensions and infrastructure.