FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has released second-quarter results for the 2020-21 fiscal year which show a projected deficit of $183.3 million compared to the budgeted surplus of $92.4 million.

The net debt is projected to increase by $386.9 million from budget. This includes an increase of $111.5 million due to 2019–20 year-end results and a $275.4 million increase in 2020-21.

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the province’s economic and fiscal situation looks very different today than it did at the time of the 2020-21 budget,” said Finance and Treasury Board Minister Ernie Steeves. “Second-quarter results show that we are facing a situation unlike anything we have experienced before. We must continue to be responsible fiscal managers to safely restore and grow our economy and put New Brunswick back on the road to prosperity.”

Revenue is projected to be $40.3 million lower than budget mainly due to anticipated impact related to COVID-19. This is largely attributable to decreased projections for provincial taxes, agency revenues and sale of goods and services, offset by federal funding, including the Safe Restart Agreement, the Safe Return to Class Fund, and the essential workers wage top-up.

Total expenses are projected to be higher than budget by $235.5 million, the majority of which is offset by federal revenue from the Safe Restart Agreement, the Safe Return to Class Fund, and the essential workers wage top-up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Second quarter actuals show a deficit of $8.6 million compared to a quarterly budgeted surplus of $45.1 million.

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our government’s vision for a better economic future has not changed,” said Steeves. “With lower revenues anticipated, we need to renew and reinvent how public services are delivered so we can give better value to the residents of New Brunswick while at the same time living within our means.”

The Department of Finance and Treasury Board projects real GDP growth for New Brunswick of -4.3 per cent for 2020. The average of private sector forecasts is now -4.1 per cent. The second-quarter results are available online.

Affordable and responsive government is one of the government’s key priorities.