Kuwait budget deficit expands to KD 5.6 billion

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - KUWAIT — The Ministry of Finance said Thursday the budget deficit hit KD5.6 billion (nearly $18.4 billion) in the fiscal year ending on March 31.

The figure reflects an annual increase by 68 percent, yet it is 31.8 percent less than the projected deficit in the state budget, according to a press release from the ministry.

The oil revenues in the last fiscal year stood at KD15.369 billion ($49 billion), declining by 16.6 percent from the previous year, while the non-oil revenues declined by 13 percent to KD1.851 billion (some $5.8 billion).

The aggregate revenues amounted to KD17.220 billion (some $55 billion), reflecting a 16 percent decline from the previous year.

The expenditure, on aggregate, topped KD21.140 billion ($68 billion), reflecting a 3.2 percent decrease from the previous year. The deductions for the future generations fund amounted to KD1.722 billion ($5.7 billion). The average oil price stood at $61.12 per barrel.

The expenditures on salaries and subsidies accounted for 76 percent of the aggregate expenditure, hitting KD4.027 billion (some $13 billion) or 17.5 percent less than the figures of the previous year.

The capital expenditures amounted to KD 2.6 billion (nearly $8.5 billion) representing 12 percent of the aggregate expenditure.

Commenting on the figures, Minister of Finance Barak Al-Shitan said, "The budget deficient of KD5.6 billion is a normal outcome of the decline of the oil prices between FY 2018-2019 and FY 2019-2020."

"The deficit was calculated after deducting the appropriations for the future generations fund amounting to 10 percent of the budget as per the provisions of Act No 106/1976.

"The government has presented to the legislature draft amendments to the law, envisaging a halt to the 10 percent appropriations for the fund in case of budget deficit," the minister revealed.

"If the amendments are passed and the final account of FY 2019-2020 is revised, the budget deficit will be brought down to KD3.9 billion ($12 billion)," he pointed out.

Al-Shitan added that the government has referred the final account to the National Assembly for endorsement and was ready for any discussion with the MPs with a view to reaching practical solutions and adjusting the state budget. — KUNA

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