FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government’s audited financial statements for the 2019-20 fiscal year ending March 31 shows a $48.7 million surplus, exceeding the budgeted surplus by $25.6 million.

“Our goal in 2018 was to balance the budget and reduce the debt load, and that is exactly what we did,” said Finance and Treasury Board Minister Ernie Steeves. “By responsibly managing the province’s finances, we ended the year with a $48.7 million budget surplus and for the first time in 13 years saw a decrease in the province’s net debt.”

The fiscal year ended with a net debt reduction of $36.8 million.

Overall, revenues were $46.3 million higher than budgeted largely due to increased personal income tax revenue.

Additional costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in higher-than-expected expenditures, partially offset by lower-than-expected expenses in central government and service of the public debt. Overall, expenditures were $20.7 million over budget.

“We recognize there are still challenges before us and we can expect to see further ups and downs in the months ahead,” said Steeves. “As we prepare for wave two of the pandemic, we must continue to be prudent fiscal managers to secure a brighter future for our province.”

The financial statements were prepared by the Office of the Comptroller led by the comptroller, the chief accountant and internal auditor for the provincial government. The statements were independently audited by the Office of the Auditor General.

Audited financial statements for 2019-20 are available online.