Lebanon’s newly released draft budget forecasts a 16 percent increase in revenues during fiscal year 2003, from $3.7 billion in 2002 to $4.3 billion. At the same time, the government’s spending is expected to reach $5.6 billion in 2003, down 10.4 percent from $6.2 billion in 2002.
The budget deficit is thus expected drop to 23.8 percent in fiscal year 2003, compared to 41.3 percent level in 2002, reported Xinua. The proposed budget, drafted by Lebanese Minister of Finance Fouad Siniora, needs the approval of the cabinet and the parliament, before year’s end.
The proposed budget also includes an 11 percent decrease of debt servicing from three billion dollars in 2002 to $2.67 billion dollars in 2003. Debt servicing will continue to consume more that 48 percent of the budget and 90 percent of revenues.
The nation’s public has topped $28 billion, equaling over 150 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Lebanese parliament passed a tight national budget for 2002, with most of the revenues expected in the form of privatization money. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )