Lebanese parliament passes lower deficit budget for 2003
The Lebanese parliament passed the 2003 national budget Tuesday, January 28, carrying 8.6 trillion Lebanese pounds ($5.68 billion) in spending and LP6.475 trillion ($4.27 billion) revenues, coming down to a $1.41 billion deficit. The debt-ridden nation is anticipating a10 percent expenditure cut in 2003, from LP9.375 trillion in the 2002 budget, while revenues will expectedly be raised by 16 percent, from 5.5 trillion in 2002.
Largely depending on the planned privatization of Lebanon’s mobile phone networks, Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri's government hopes to see the nation’s debt dropping by seven billion dollars in 2003. Lebanon is saddled with one of the highest government debt burdens of any sovereign. Expected to top $31 billion by year-end 2002, the debt is estimated by international rating agency Fitch at 161 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) at end-2002.
In recognition of the Lebanese authorities' efforts to get the national economy on track, international donors committed at the Paris II conference last year to provide $4.4 billion in assistance, most of which will be in place in the first quarter and directed at reducing the debt service burden and extending the maturity of public debt. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)