Debt Servicing and the Delivery of Social Services: Mid-Year Review of the 2018 Budget

This policy brief reviews the performance of the first half (January to June) of the 2018 National Budget, drawing on data from fiscal tables produced by the Ministry of Finance. A descriptive approach is employed in order to analyse the data and in summary of the results. The author focus on fiscal revenue, fiscal expenditure, fiscal balances and the financing of the fiscal balances. Preliminary comments is also provided about implications of the fiscal situation for spending quality and the quality of service delivery. It is observed that while revenue collection was largely consistent with the approved budget for 2018, it was not enough to cover the higher than planned spending emanating from increased capital and debt servicing expenditure. Moreover, although progress has been made towards fiscal sustainability, the overruns have resulted in inadequate funding of key public services including social benefits and empowerment programmes.