Budget deficit rises to 26 percent in first quarter

File - The Finance Ministry building is seen in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s budget deficit in the first quarter of 2013 surged by LL171 billion to reach LL1.181 trillion, or 26.02 percent, compared to LL1.009 trillion, or 22.26 percent, in the same period of last year, the Finance Ministry said Friday. This rise in budget deficit caused the primary surplus, excluding the cost of debt servicing, to drop by 0.16 percent to LL267 billion. The primary surplus in the first three months of 2012 stood at LL274 billion.

Total government revenues up to end-March this year stood at LL3.354 trillion compared to LL3.157 trillion in the same period of last year, falling by 5.83 percent, or LL195 billion.

Customs proceeds in the reporting period rose by 0.71 percent to reach LL1.055 trillion while revenues from the value added tax plunged by 8.13 percent to reach LL802.171 billion.

Revenues from the telecoms sector slightly rose by 0.84 percent to reach LL542.561 billion.

Government spending reached LL4.534 trillion compared to LL4.531 trillion, an increase of 0.08 percent. Allocations to EDL rose by 5.74 percent to reach LL862.351 billion.

Nearly 45 percent of the government’s revenues cover the cost of debt servicing and 35 percent covers the salaries of the public sector employees.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 15, 2013, on page 4.




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