Presented by The Ministry of Finance


Do you know how the government calculates its Deficit?

During the Annual Budget Debate, some questions have come up about changes in the way the government calculates the budget deficit.  Although the government has changed how it calculates the deficit, this has not affected the overall deficit position, only the way it is presented.

Original Calculation

Before FY2018/ 2019, recurrent expenditure included the cost of debt repayment.  To calculate the recurrent deficit, recurrent expenditure was deducted from government revenue.  Capital expenditure was then subtracted from the recurrent deficit to amount for the total deficit amount.  However, prior to FY2018/2019, the cost of debt repayment was included in recurrent expenditure, so this amount was added to the total deficit to arrive at the correct Government Finance Statistic (GFS) deficit.

New Calculation

Using the presentation adopted since FY2018/2019, the cost of debt repayment has been excluded from recurrent expenditure, simplifying the calculation.  The GFS deficit is now calculated by adding recurrent expenditure to capital expenditure.  The total of recurrent and capital expenditure is subtracted from government revenue, resulting in the same GFS deficit amount as before.

This change in presentation is in keeping with the IMF’s Government Finance Statistic methodology. In this method, while interest payments are included as an expenditure by government, borrowings and repayment of debt are accounted for during the fiscal period in which it was obtained as financing activities and hence are not included as an expenditure item.

See this example from FY2016/2017

Fiscal Summary 2016/17


Original presentation

New presentation

Recurrent Expenditure 2,320 2,033
Recurrent Revenue 2,175 2,175
Recurrent Balance -145 142
Capital Expenditure 242 242
Capital Revenue 0 0
Capital Balance -242 -242
Total Deficit -387 -100
Debt Redemption 287 0
GFS Deficit -100 -100

Source: Draft Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure 2016/17

Key Terms & Definitions


The budget website is inspired by a worldwide movement towards citizens budgets. Presented by the Ministry of Finance, it is a visual, interactive and less-technical version of the annual budget that promotes accessibility, inclusion, transparency and accountability.