According to the Ministry of Finance , Lebanon’s fiscal deficit expanded from $844.73M by April 2017 to $1.91B by April 2018. In fact, fiscal revenues witnessed an annual increase of 3.44% to reach $3.81B while the government spending rose by a yearly 26.39% to stand at $5.73B. Lebanon’s overall primary balance which excludes Lebanon’s debt service posted a deficit of $365.25M, compared to a surplus of $625.14M by April 2017.
Tax revenues (constituting 74% of total revenues) increased by an annual 6.51% to $2.82B. Revenues from the VAT” (34.21% of total tax receipts) climbed by 8.65% y-o-y to $964.32M, and this can be largely attributed to the new VAT rate of 11%, increased from 10% starting January 2018. Meanwhile, “customs’ revenues” (15.41% of tax receipts) dropped by 3.04% year-on-year (y-o-y) to $434.44M As for Non-tax revenues (16.74% of total revenues), they witnessed a drop of 23.47 % to stand at $638M by April 2018. This can be linked to the yearly decrease of 30.76% in “telecom revenues” (constituting 39.54% of total non-tax revenues) to reach $252M by April 2018.
On the expenditures’ side, total government spending increased by a yearly 26.39% to hit $5.75B by April 2018. In details, transfers to Electricity du Liban (EDL) alone rose by 44.14% to reach $521.73M which followed the 25.70% annual rise in average oil prices to $68.38/barrel over the period. Moreover, total debt service increased by an annual 5.34% to reach $1.54B by April 2018. In details, interest payments rose by a yearly 5.51% to stand at $1.50B by April 2018 while the foreign debt principal repayment recorded a short downtick of an annual 0.65% to reach $41.02M by April 2018.
Yearly Fiscal Balance by April (in $M)
Source: Ministry of finance