Lebanon's Finance Ministry Blames EDL for Deficit Problems
Lebanon's overall budget deficit for the first eight months of the year rose to hit 51 percent of spending, or $2.1 billion, up from 41.8 percent of spending, or $1.4 billion, in the same period of 1999, the Daily Star reported Tuesday.
The figures, which take into account government spending and also interest payments on Treasury bills, give another indication that the government is not yet able to raise enough revenues and reduce expenditures substantially, the daily said.
Finance Minister George Corm was quoted by the paper as saying "last week, the total deficit would be below 50 percent at the end of the year."
The ministry, according to the paper, repeated that the deficit of Electricite du Liban was making it more difficult for the Treasury to fix the country's financial problems.
It said the "bleeding" in EDL continues, adding that the ministry had to pay for fuel oil whose price has risen on world markets. The ministry has paid $232 million to cover EDL's shortfall and another $60 million for municipalities so far this year.
Total spending, including debt servicing, in the first eight months jumped to $3.3 billion from $2.8 billion in the same period of last year.
Debt-servicing payments up to the end of August reached $1.7 billion, an increase of 14.5 percent compared to last year. Debt servicing is projected to reach $2.6 billion at the end of the year, the daily said - Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)