Are Interest Payments on Debt Derailing Fiscal Consolidation?

This policy brief provides a review of the performance of the first quarter of the 2018 National Budget. The paper provides context by looking at both the revenue and expenditure trends during the last three years when Government instituted some fiscal adjustment measures to bring the country back to a path of fiscal fitness. In analyzing the 2018 Budget, the first quarter preliminary out turns are compared to the approved Budget for 2018, the projected performance for the first quarter as well as the first quarter of 2017. We assess fiscal fitness over the last three years and determine that fiscal consolidation had begun. While fiscal performance was generally high, budget credibility and sustainability were low. In the first quarter of 2018, revenues were higher than planned and most expenditures were within the projected amounts. Nonetheless, interest payments were much higher than expected and are likely to be a major source of spending overruns in 2018.