Lebanon’s budget deficit to rise to drastic levels
Lebanon’s budget deficit in the first six months of this year continued to rise amid falling revenues and increasing expenditures, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.
The budget deficit up to June of this year reached 28.1 percent of spending (LL2.862 trillion) compared to 18.26 percent deficit in the same period of last year.
The primary surplus, excluding the cost of debt servicing, plunged to LL25 billion only from a surplus of LL1.164 trillion in the same period of 2012, a decrease of LL1.140 trillion.
The steep economic slowdown, sharp fall in the number of tourists and the turmoil in Syria were among the reasons behind the sharp rise in the deficit.
Caretaker Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi predicted the budget deficit would reach LL5.5 trillion at the end of this year, warning that the deficit would get even worse in 2014 if no drastic measures are taken.
Total government revenues in the first six months reached LL7.318 trillion, registering a drop of 4.24 percent compared to the same period of 2012.
Tables provided by the Finance Ministry show all direct and non direct taxes fell in the first six months of this year.
The telecoms allocations to the Finance Ministry fell by 15.25 percent to reach LL903.189 billion.
The Telecoms Ministry attributed the fall in allocations to the Finance Ministry to the projects the ministry was currently carrying out in Lebanon.
Total government spending in the same reporting period rose by LL815 billion to reach LL7.293 trillion compared to LL6.477 trillion in the first six months of last year.