FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government remains on track to eliminate its deficit by 2020-21, with third-quarter results for 2016-17 released today showing the government exceeding its budget target.

“New Brunswickers want their government to get its finances in order, but not at the expense of social programs,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. “We are pleased to have reduced the deficit in a steady, responsible way. We are proud we have cut the deficit in half since taking office and we are on track to eliminating it entirely by the 2020-21 budget.”

Excluding the contingency reserve, which has not been required, the projected deficit is $231.1 million. This would be an improvement over last year’s deficit of $260.5 million reported at year end.

Rogers said the provincial government has been successful at meeting its financial targets and continues to be prudent in its forecasting. For those reasons the government will not require the contingency reserve going forward.

Third-quarter results show higher revenues of $25.6 million from budgeted. Total expenses are projected to be $9.6 million higher than budgeted mainly due to increased funding for federal infrastructure programs.

This results in an overall $16 million improvement from budgeted.

“Our objective remains to meet or better our budget target, as well as last year’s fiscal result,” said Rogers. “With this update, we are on this path.”

Third-quarter results also show that the New Brunswick economy has performed as expected. Economic activity was supported by solid income growth, gains in household consumption and strength in the province’s primary and tourism sectors.

The 2016-17 third-quarter economic and fiscal update is available online.