Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna welcomes the IMF 2017 Article IV Mission Concluding Statement, stating that prudent policies and advanced structural reforms contributed to the strengthening of private and public sector balance sheets, whilst steady job creation drove unemployment to historically low levels. Additionally, the Government is set to over-achieve the 2017 budget target.
PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FINANCE
“It is my pleasure to note that the IMF is recognising the annual fiscal surplus as building larger fiscal buffers that would strengthen Malta’s fiscal position”,stated Finance Minister Edward Scicluna.
IMF confirmed that Malta is enjoying robust economic growth and remains one of the strongest economies in Europe.
Growth is being supported by a rapid expansion of services, which are boosting exports and improving the economy’s external position. Indeed, the external current account registered a positive balance during the three quarters of 2017.
The 2016 budget target was outperformed by the fiscal balance which amounted to a surplus of 1.1 percent of GDP for the first time in three decades. Specifically, the IMF notes that Malta achieved its medium-term objective (MTO) of a structural balance in 2016, three years ahead of schedule as a result of buoyant tax revenues and contained expenditure growth. It also notes that public debt fell below 60 per cent of GDP.
The IMF also outlines that Malta’s economy remains on a strong growth trajectory. It expects the robust growth to continue in the coming years, mainly driven by domestic demand backed by rising incomes, dynamic job creation and historically low unemployment. The IMF further expects the risks to this outlook to be broadly balanced.
The IMF notes that domestic banks remain profitable and well-capitalized, and invites the Government to continue implementing the measures that further safeguard financial stability.
“Whilst I welcome the IMF’s recommendations, through the 2018 Budget we continue to work on our existing frameworks so as to continue increasing households’ purchasing power, their disposable income, and their wellbeing”, concluded Minister Scicluna.
Tuesday 30th January 2018