The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Canton of Fribourg reports slight surplus for 2023

The canton of Fribourg presented balanced state accounts for 2023 on Wednesday. The slight surplus of CHF 242,518 after CHF 494,000 in 2022 was achieved thanks to higher tax revenues, withdrawals from funds and provisions as well as transfer revenues.

At the same time, expenditure rose by 4.2 percent or CHF 170.7 million to CHF 4.22 billion compared to the budget. "The prudent financial policy of recent years allows the State Council to present a just-balanced result," said Finance Minister Jean-Pierre Siggen (center) at a media conference on Wednesday.

However, for the first time in almost ten years, current income was no longer sufficient to cover current expenditure. The resulting financing gap of CHF 52.6 million was made up by using provisions.

The lack of payment from the Swiss National Bank (SNB) necessitated a withdrawal of CHF 50 million from the ad hoc provision. Among other things, this operation enabled the State Council to present a balanced account in 2023.

The financing gap is all the more worrying as this situation is occurring at a time of a good economy, low unemployment and rising tax revenues, said Siggen. The emergence of a structural deficit situation calls for the utmost vigilance, warned the Finance Minister.

The cantonal government is also counting on the support of the Grand Council to help it bring the development of costs under control. Siggen described population growth as one of the challenges of the future. In addition, the increasing complexity of justice and security will require more resources.

Record investments

Cantonal tax revenue exceeded budget targets by 4.7 percent or CHF 63.8 million, while cantonal financial equalization brought in CHF 591.3 million.

Personnel expenses rose by 0.6 percent to CHF 1.46 billion, with special financing being burdened by the additional costs for the construction of the Cantonal and University Library (+26 million) and the contribution to the provision for the renovation of the Fribourg Cantonal Hospital (+10 million).

At over CHF 246.1 million, the investment volume reached a record level and marked an "ambitious" policy, according to the Minister of Finance. The fully earmarked net assets amounted to 807.5 million at the end of 2023, compared to 1.16 billion at the end of 2018.

©Keystone/SDA

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