Lebanon’s fiscal deficit widened by 25.09% year-on-year (y-o-y) to $4.94B by the end of 2016. This was attributed to the 9.90% yearly increase in government expenditures outpacing the 3.63% annual rise in fiscal revenues.
During the same period, the total primary balance displayed a surplus of $21M by the end of 2016 compared to a higher primary surplus of $724M by December 2014.
Total government revenues stood at $9.92B by December 2016, compared to a lower level of $9.58B by December 2014. Tax revenues, constituting the largest share of total public revenues, increased by a yearly 2.59% to $7.03B. In details, VAT revenues (grasping a 30.52% share of tax receipts) rose by 2.38% y-o-y to $2.15B, and custom revenues (19.98% of tax receipts) added 2.57% to $1.40B, over the same period. As for telecom revenues (12.75% of total government revenues), they witnessed an incline of 2.51% y-o-y to $1.27B.
As for expenditures, total government expenditures rose by 9.90% to $14.87B by the end of the year. Regarding transfers to Electricite du Liban, they dropped by 18.33% annually to $927M, mainly due to the continuous decline in oil prices. In contrast, interest payments on government’s debt went up 6.90% to $4.77B, due to the 6.52% rise in interest payments on domestic debt to $3.06B, and the 7.57% rise in the interest payments on foreign debt to $1.71B. As such, debt service grew by 6.16% to stand at $4.97B by December 2016.
Yearly Government Deficit (In $M)
Source: Ministry of finance