BEIRUT: Lebanon’s budget deficit soared by LL726 billion to LL2.446 trillion in the first five months of the year, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday. The deficit now stands at 27.9 percent of spending, up from 21.79 percent in the first five months of 2012, the ministry said.
The budget returned to a primary surplus of LL30 billion after having recorded a primary deficit through the first four months of the year. The primary surplus, however, declined by LL682 billion compared to the first five months of 2012.
The primary balance is a vital indicator calculated by deducting the interest payments component from the total deficit of any budget.
The Treasury registered LL406 billion in primary deficit in the first four months of the year, raising concerns over fiscal stability.
“Revenues and expenditures noted in the budget are not equally distributed in all months of the year,” the report said, explaining the sharp fluctuation in the primary account.
Total revenues, including tax and non tax income, increased 2.28 percent up to May to LL6.313 trillion.
A 22 percent increase in income tax helped compensate for a 3.6 percent decline in value-added tax and a more than 12 percent decline in real estate transactions and inheritance taxes.
Telecom revenues plunged 14 percent, the report said, citing estimates provided by the Telecoms Ministry.
Total expenditures increased by LL867 billion, almost 11 percent, to LL8.750 trillion.
The external debt payments component fell by 14 percent and transfers to Electricite Du Liban decreased 6.9 percent.