|Finance Ministry reports fall in budget deficit - Total government revenues increase (Daily Star)
|The Finance Ministry said Tuesday the budget deficit in the first six months of this year fell to only 38.95 percent (or LL2.1 trillion) from 40.73 percent (or LL1.93 trillion) in the same period of last year.
Total government revenues in the first six months rose by 16.8 percent to LL3.29 trillion while spending rose by 13.38 percent to LL5.39 trillion.
The primary surplus, excluding the cost of debt servicing, in the first half of this year reached LL388 billion compared to LL305 trillion in the same period last year.
The government projected a deficit of 25 percent by the end of the year if privatization takes place, but Prime Minister Rafik Hariri admitted earlier that the budget deficit may exceed the 25 percent target if privatization was not carried out this year.
Revenues from the value-added tax in the first half of this year reached LL816.9 billion compared to LL633 billion in the same period of last year.
Debt servicing, which consumes the bulk of the budget, rose by 10.97 percent to LL2.5 trillion in the first half of this year from LL2.24 trillion in the same period of last year.
Privatization of state-owned assets is one of the key elements in the governmentâ€™s plan to reduce the $31 billion public debt.
However, privatization is unlikely to proceed due to increasing tensions between the president and the prime minister.
The Daily Star