Following the report issued by the General Inspectorate of Finance, the budget execution data released by the Ministry of Finances in July confirms that the Azores do not pose any risk budget for the country whereas the Region did not register any budget slippage or deviation.
According to the Vice-President of the Government, “the budget execution confirms, as shown in the memorandum signed with the National Government, that the Azores meet the stipulated budget goals without the need of removing any compensatory measure. Therefore, the benefits granted to the Azoreans can be ensured insofar as the Regional Government is able to reconcile these support measure with the balance of its public accounts."
The information on the data released by the monthly budget execution report of the Directorate-General for Budget was provided by Sérgio Ávila in statements made to the press.
The Azores registered in the first seven months of 2012 a revenue of 554.3 million Euros and an expenditure of 502 million Euros.
The actual revenue of the Autonomous Region of the Azores was, until the month of July, higher by 52.3 million Euros compared to the expenditure registered in the same period of time.
The Vice-President of the Government considers that the data released on Monday "indicate that the Azores meets the budget goals set and the commitments made by the Region. The Region's public accounts are not contributing to the state deficit and, indeed, they have made a positive contribution to the reduction of the national budget imbalance."
The data revealed by Ministry of Finance also demonstrate the considerable effort to contain operating costs through a reduction of 15.9% in the purchase of current goods and services and a decrease of 13.5% in personnel costs.
In terms of revenue, the Azores registered a positive evolution with the allocation of EU funds, as a result of the repayment of the public investments made, which recorded an increase of 20.1 million Euros in July compared to the same period in 2011. In fact, the repayment of investments increased from 30.3 to 50.4 million Euros.
The reduction of the remaining revenue was already envisaged in the Regional Budget, being the result of the Government's option of keeping tax rates low.
For Sergio Ávila "this situation was balanced by a reduction in expenditure, which represented an improvement in the Region's budget balance that rose to 52.3 million Euros in July 2012."
The Vice-President of the Government establishes the difference between the Azores and the Autonomous Region of Madeira: "in fact, there is a considerable difference compared to Madeira, which registers a reduction in revenue, despite the general increase of taxes, and an increase in spending of 6.8%; the overall balance being of -115.2 million Euros."
The Vice-President of the Government further clarifies that "the contents of this monthly budget execution report published by the Directorate-General for Budget were stipulated in the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the National Government, which has already been done for several years. The report also evidences that the Region does not provide additional information on its accounts and its accountability to the National Government will not increase."