According to press sources, the Ministry of Finance is working on the third draft of the 2001 budget to be presented soon to the cabinet. The figures reached in the second draft were as follows: LP8,855 billion ($5.87 billion) for spending,LP5,400 billion ($3.58 billion) in revenues ,resulting in a deficit of LP3,455 billion ($2.29billion) i.e. a deficit spending ratio of 39.01 percent.
Comparing the 2001 planned figures with the 2000 budget shows that spending is expected to increase by 3.08 percent, while revenues will rise slightly by 0.2 percent. This comparison, however, is hardly accurate as the figures achieved during the first half of the year show that revenues represented 39.7 percent of the budgeted 2000 figure, while spending reached 53.1 percent of the planned figure.
Debt servicing was estimated in the second draft of the 2001 budget at LP3,900 billion ($2.59 billion), exactly the same as in the 2000 budget, despite the fact that the ministry expects total debt to reach LP38,000 billion ($25.21 billion) by the end of this year.
Moreover, it should be noted that the servicing figure was curiously decreased from LP4,560 billion ($3.02 billion) as presented in the first draft. ― ( Banque du Liban et d'Outre-Mer Sal )
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )