According to the Ministry of Finance, Lebanon’s fiscal deficit widened by 7.33% year-on-year (y-o-y) to reach $840.01M in the first quarter (Q1) of 2014. This came as a result of 8.58% y-o-y growth in total expenditure to reach $3.27B, which is more than total revenues of $2.43B, which increased by 9.01%.
Tax revenues rose by 4.42% to $1.66B by March, compared to the same period last year. However, customs revenues declined by 14.82% to $301M and VAT revenues decreased by 1% to $527M.
As for non-tax revenues, they inched up by 3.48% to $526M due to the 8.51% rise in telecom revenues to $378M in Q1 2014.
Treasury receipts amounted to $204M up to March, a 55.59% y-o-y surge.
Budget expenditures totaled $2.91B in Q1 2014 compared to $2.47B in the same period last year where general expenditures posted a 20.04% y-o-y upturn to $2.03B.
Interest payments also rose by 13.22% to $844M with interest payments on domestic debt registering a 16.95% annual uptick to $617M and interest payments on foreign debt climbing by an annual 4.21% to $227M.
Treasury expenditures were slashed by 33.76% to $356M by March 2014.
The primary surplus, which excludes the government’s debt service, stood at $38M in Q1 2014, compared to a primary deficit of $5M in Q1 2013.
Government Revenues and Expenditures in Q1 ($B)
Source: Ministry of Finance