German gov't net new debt in 2020 about 90 bln euros less than planned

BERLIN, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Germany's federal government took on significantly less debt last year than originally estimated, the Ministry of Finance (BMF) said on Tuesday.

The country's net new debt was 130.5 billion euros (158.4 billion U.S. dollars) due to "comparatively positive economic, labor market and income developments," according to the preliminary budget published by the BMF.

New government debt was almost 90 billion euros below the amount originally approved by the Bundestag. Last year, the German government launched an unprecedented economic aid package to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

"Despite the pandemic, we have our finances well under control," said Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz in a statement. Also, the country's "determined state aid policy" was showing an effect, said Scholz.

The German government's tax revenues were 18.8 billion euros higher than expected, the BMF said. Expenditures, on the other hand, were lower as a "robust labor market" in Germany led to a reduction in expenditure of around nine billion euros on basic benefits.

"We have the strength to continue to hold out massively against the coronavirus crisis," said Scholz, pointing out that the government's aid measures would either be extended or intensified.

The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said on Tuesday that it will ramp up and simplify interim aid during the pandemic. Companies that report a sales drop of at least 30 percent can now receive up to 1.5 million euros. (1 euro = 1.21 U.S. dollars)

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