Government released the public accounts for the 2017-18 fiscal year today, July 26.
The annual audited financial statements report a surplus of $230 million. The net position is $120 million.
“By managing the budget throughout the 2017-18 year and with one-time revenue from the offshore arbitration award, we were able to make key investments that set up our province for success for years to come,” said Karen Casey, Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. “Our fiscal plan provides financial flexibility and sustainability and has allowed us to invest in the priorities of Nova Scotians.
“Last year, we reduced taxes while investing more in primary health care, in youth and young people, in infrastructure, including new health-care facilities and roads, and in new ideas that will create a better economy.”
The province will invest an additional $73 million in the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust to help fund the expansion of high-speed internet to underserviced homes and businesses across the province. This is on top of the $120 million forecast in March. When the trust was established it provided for additional funding, based on the size of the surplus.
The annual public accounts report the actual financial results at the end of the fiscal year and compare actuals to the budget approved at the beginning of the fiscal year. A set of three volumes of accountability documents, the public accounts include, consolidated financial statements of the province and financial information of departments, financial statements of Crown corporations and funds, and departmental details about salaries, payments to suppliers, travel and other expenses.
The audited financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2018, and show a final surplus of $230 million, $98.4 million higher than the budgeted surplus of $131.6 million. The surplus includes a one-time revenue increase of $110.3 million because of federal and municipal contributions for the convention centre in Halifax. The $110.3 million will go towards the debt to provide the fiscal capacity in future years for the continuation of the QEII Health Sciences Centre redevelopment, enhancing care for Nova Scotians and Atlantic Canadians. The resulting net position is $120 million.
This was the second consecutive year Nova Scotia finished in a surplus. In 2016-17, the surplus was $151.2 million.
Consolidated revenue was up $454.4 million from budget, to $11.98 billion, primarily due to increased revenue from income taxes, an offshore petroleum royalties award and equalization. Consolidated expenses were up $356 million to $11.75 billion, primarily due to an increase in the estimated costs to remediate Boat Harbour and funding for both the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust and the Nova Scotia Research Trust.
At year end, net debt was $14.96 billion. Net debt to GDP ratio for 2017-18 was 34.6 per cent, down 1.2 percentage points from 2016-17. The net debt to GDP ratio has declined 3.6 percentage points since 2014.
Auditor General Michael Pickup has provided an unqualified opinion on the province’s consolidated financial statements for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018.
Government entities also released compensation over $100,000 for individuals as required by the Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act.
The documents are online at http://www.novascotia.ca/finance .