The recovery of the city’s gaming industry boosted the government’s total revenue to a year-on-year increase of 5.3 per cent in the first two months of the year, as compared to a drop of 20.9 per cent for the same period one year ago, according to the latest updates of the central account by the Financial Services Bureau (DSF).
Between January and February, the MSAR Government generated a total of MOP16.96 billion (US$2.12 billion) in revenue, excluding that from autonomous bodies. Of the total, 83.4 per cent was direct taxes from the gaming industry, amounting to MOP14.1 billion, a growth of 5.4 per cent year-on-year.
In August 2016, the gaming sector ended its 26-consecutive-month slump in gaming revenue. For the first two months of this year, total gross gaming revenue rose by 10.6 per cent year-on-year to MOP42.2 billion, according to official data from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ).
In addition to gaming taxes, local authorities saw other direct taxes increase by 13.7 per cent year-on-year to MOP854.5 million, while indirect taxes surged by 38.1 per cent year-on-year to MOP605.3 million.
Nevertheless, revenues derived from fees, fines and other penalties decreased by 27.3 per cent year-on-year to MOP256.4 million. Total capital revenue – including sales of capital assets, financial assets, and reimbursements not deducted from payments, also plunged by 82.6 per cent year-on-year to MOP15.9 million.
Fiscal surplus soars as expenses down
On the other hand, the government’s total expenditure, excluding that of autonomous bodies, declined by 29.8 per cent year-on-year to MOP5.18 billion during the first two months of the year, only accounting for 6.1 per cent of the year’s authorised budget of MOP85.3 billion.
With the increase in revenue and decrease in expenditure, the total fiscal surplus of the central account registered an increase of 34.9 per cent year-on-year to MOP11.8 billion, compared to MOP8.73 billion registered one year ago. The amount is already more than triple the government’s expected annual surplus of MOP5.57 billion for the government’s central departments excluding autonomous bodies.
In fact, the decrease in expenditure during the two months was due to the fact that contributions to the investment plan (PIDDA) were slashed by 36 per cent year-on-year to MOP11.1 million, while current expenditure also fell by 29.8 per cent year-on-year to MOP5.18 billion.
But the government’s total expenditure on other investments jumped by 151.5 per cent year-on-year, amounting to MOP3.6 million in the same period.
On the other hand, the total amount of expenditure transferred to the city’s Social Security Fund during the period was MOP2.25 billion, the account reads.