BEIRUT: Lebanon’s budget deficit increased to LL5.252 trillion ($3.49 billion), or 28.67 percent of expenditures, in the first 11 months of 2012 compared to LL2.940 trillion ($1.95 billion), or 18.76 percent, during the same period in 2011, the Finance Ministry said in a statement Friday.
The budget’s primary surplus decreased from LL2.518 trillion in the first 11 months of 2011 to LL97 billion in 2012, a drop from 16.69 percent of expenditures to 0.53 percent.
State revenues increased LL337 billion during the first 11 months of 2012 to reach LL13.068 trillion. “A part of this improvement is due to the increasing revenues of the Customs Department, which increased by LL71 billion,” the ministry statement said.
Expenditures rose 16.91 percent to LL18.320 trillion compared to LL15.671 trillion in the first 11 months of 2011. The cost of debt servicing up to November of this year fell slightly to 3.11 percent to reach LL5.062 trillion compared to LL5.225 trillion in the same period of 2012.
Allocations to cash-strapped Electricite du Liban rose by 41.84 percent to reach LL3.3 trillion compared to LL2.347 trillion in 2012.
In a recent interview with The Daily Star, former Finance Minister Jihad Azour said that for the first time in 12 years, Lebanon would post a primary deficit of $460 million by end-2012, raising the budget deficit to around 10 percent of GDP.