Consolidated debt 

 

Source 
 

Flemish Authorities: Department of Finance and Budget, Institute of National Accounts (INA), the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) 

Local authorities of Flanders: Agency for Home Affairs   

 
 

Definitions 
 

Flemish Authorities
 

In order to finance their expenditure, public authorities take on debts. The table below shows the various types of debt of the Flemish Authorities within the framework of the European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA). ESA is used by the Member States of the European Union and was updated in 2010 (ESA 2010).  

Geconsolideerde schuld

 

 

Consolidated debt: sum of the financial debts (and in exceptional cases also the other debts) of all entities in the consolidation circle of the Flemish Authorities . The consolidation circle indicates which entities are included in the consolidated budget and annual financial statements.  

Consolidated debt includes: 

  • direct debt, 

  • indirect debt, 

  • all the financial debts (and in exceptional cases also other debts) of all entities that, according to ESA standards, fall within the perimeter of the Flemish Authorities . 

  • part of the guaranteed debt, 

  • part of the PPP debt. 
     

Generally speaking, 2 concepts are used for consolidated debt.  
 

INA Concept: concept of the Institute for National Accounts (INA, Flemish Community - Contribution to the consolidated ‘Maastricht’ gross debt) that is used for showing the evolution during the 2004-2017 period at national level and for European comparisons. The contribution to the consolidated gross debt is equal to the consolidated gross debt minus the assets held by the sub-regions that can be consolidated. 


FB-FA Concept: wider concept of the Department of Finance and Budget of the Flemish Authorities (FB-FA), including some corrections to the INA debt. The most important correction is the inclusion of the debt relating to the funding of hospitals which has been borne by the Flemish budget since 2016 and which are reported by the INA to the interregional units since the distribution among the various communities and regions has not yet been determined. However, the Department of Finance and Budget does not want to underestimate the Flemish debt and therefore reports a provisional figure according to its own calculations. 

 

Direct debt: the debt that the Flemish Authorities has incurred in order to meet its net funding requirement. When the funding requirement is larger than the available financial means , the Flemish Authorities must borrow in order to meet its financing obligations. 
We also talk about direct debt when the Flemish Authorities take over debts from a third party and explicitly recognise those debts as its own debt in a decree. 
Finally, direct debt also refers to the debt incurred by the Flemish Authorities  when it borrows in advance of the consolidated government entities and passes these amounts on to the entities. This last form of direct debt will increase in the future since it is cheaper for the Flemish Authorities to find finances directly on the capital market than for consolidated government entities to finance themselves on the capital market with a guarantee from the Flemish Authorities .
 
 

Indirect debt: loans entered into by a legal entity other than the Flemish Authorities , for which the Flemish Authorities fully or partially accept the repayment and interest payment. 
 

Guaranteed debt: loan for which the Flemish Authorities guarantee the repayment. In the past, most guarantees were granted to the entities below: 

  • the Water Group (de Watergroep), the largest drinking water company in Flanders, 

  • social housing, the main actors for which are the Flemish Association for Social Housing (Vlaamse Maatschappij voor Sociaal Wonen - VMSW) and the Flemish Housing Fund (Vlaamse Woningfonds - VWF). 

  • The Flemish Infrastructure Fund for Personal Affairs (Vlaams Infrastructuurfonds voor Persoonsgebonden Aangelegenheden - VIPA), 

  • School Invest and Schools for Tomorrow (Scholen van Morgen) (PPP project), 

  • large, medium-sized and small enterprises by the Flemish Participation Society (Vlaamse Participatiemaatschappij - PMV) 
     

PPP debt: debt acquired in the context of PPP projects (public-private partnership), an instrument to achieve public investments. In a PPP project, a public authority enters into a partnership with one or more private companies to realise an investment. This may involve building public infrastructure such as roads, bridges and tunnels, but also public real estate such as schools, libraries and sports infrastructure. 
 

Consolidated guaranteed debt: the largest part of the guaranteed debt belongs to entities from the consolidation circle and consequently falls under the consolidated debt.  
 

Non-consolidated guaranteed debt: guarantees for entities that do not belong to the consolidation circle. This is a limited part of the guaranteed debt.  


 

Local authorities 
 

The consolidated debt of the local authorities includes 'financial debt’ as a consequence of loans, leasing or similar arrangements.  
The figures come from the annual accounts of the local authorities. This mainly concerns annual accounts that have been discussed by the municipal council and the PCSW council. In addition, there are also provisional annual accounts to a limited extent. The annual accounts are final after approval by the governor or the minister in charge. 
The amounts concern the realized transactions, not the estimated figures from the budget and its revisions. 

 

Local administrations: 

  • Municipalities 

  • Districts of the City of Antwerp 

  • Autonomous municipal companies  

  • Public centres for social welfare (PCSW); 

  • PCSW associations 

  • Provincial administrations 

  • Autonomous provincial companies  

 

The other local authorities, such as police districts and assistance zones, are not included in the figures. 

 

Number of inhabitants  

For the calculation of the consolidated debt per inhabitant of the Flemish municipalities, the number of inhabitants on January 1st of the year in question is used as the denominator.  
 

In the case of both the Flemish government and the local authorities, this always concerns amounts in current prices. These are prices for the year in question, not adjusted for inflation.

 
Remarks on quality 
 

The Department of Finance and Budget, the Agency for Home Affairs, the Institute of National Accounts (INA) and the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) provide reliable data on the financial transactions of the Flemish Authorities.  

For the local administrations, figures are used from the administrations that have already reported their annual accounts to  the Agency for Home Affairs by the time the statistics are established.  

 
 

References 
 

Department of Finance and Budget: Website  

Agency for Home Affairs: BBC - data and analyses  

Institute of National Accounts (INA) Website 

National Bank of Belgium (NBB): Database Public Finances 

 
 

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