Following the 27% yearly drop in 2014, Lebanon’s fiscal deficit widened by 28.62% year-on-year (y-o-y) to $3.95B by the end of 2015. This was attributed to the 11.98% yearly decrease in government revenues outpacing the 3.04% annual decline in fiscal expenditures.
During the same period, the total primary balance displayed a surplus of $724M by the end of 2015 compared to a higher primary surplus of $1.31B by December 2014.
Total government revenues stood at $9.58B by December 2015, compared to a higher level of $10.88B by December 2014. Tax revenues, constituting 19.97% of total public revenues, slightly declined by a yearly 0.56% to $6.85B. In details, VAT revenues (grasping a 30.58% share of tax receipts) dropped 4.34% y-o-y to $2.10B, while custom revenues (19.98% of tax receipts) added 1.07% to $1.37B, over the same period. As for telecom revenues (12.88% of total government revenues), they went down by 38.67% y-o-y to $1.23B after the Ministry of Telecommunication reduced internet and mobile tariffs in June 2014.
Total government expenditures declined from $13.95B by December 2014 to $13.53B in the same period of 2015. Regarding transfers to Electricite du Liban, they dropped by 45.81% annually to $1.13B, on the back of the continuous fall in oil prices. In contrast, interest payments on government’s debt went up 6.45% to $4.46B, due to the 9.98% rise in interest payments on domestic debt to $2.87B, and the0.62% rise in the interest payments on foreign debt to $1.59B.
Yearly Government Deficit (In $M)
Source: Ministry of finance