Kuwait approves budget for 2005-2006

KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti Cabinet on Sunday approved the emirate's budget for the coming 2005-2006 fiscal year, forecasting a deficit of 2.33 billion dinars ($7.9 billion), the official KUNA agency reported.

Expenditures are projected at 6.93 billion dinars, up 10 percent from the current year, while revenues are estimated at 4.6 billion dinars, up 38.6 percent.

Oil revenues are projected at $13.3 billion while non-oil income is estimated at $2.3 billion. Oil income, which makes 85 percent of public revenues, has been calculated on the basis of $21 a barrel, up from the current year's conservative price of $15 a barrel. The average price for Kuwaiti oil is currently above $30 a barrel.

Although the emirate has projected a deficit of $10 billion at the end of the current 2004-2005 fiscal year, official figures indicate the country is headed for a huge surplus.

Figures posted on the finance ministry's Web site show that at the end of November - eight months of the year - Kuwait had collected revenue of $20.3 billion, of which $18.7 billion came from oil.

Spending was $9.8 billion at the end of November, but the figure normally grows at a much faster rate in the last three months of the year.

Economic reports predict Kuwait will post an income over $30 billion this year, the highest in over three decades, and a budget surplus of over $10 billion, its sixth successive year of windfall.

The emirate posted a surplus of more than $21.3 billion in the past five fiscal years. Returns on foreign assets, estimated at over $90 billion, do not show in the budget. - AFP





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