Sri Lanka overall budget deficit nears 10.3-pct of GDP in 2009

Mar 02, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s budget deficit for 2009 has exceeded 10.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), with a planned 7.0 percent deficit derailed by weak revenues and sharply higher expenditure, a finance ministry report said.

The pre-election fiscal report said the revenue deficit (the gap between total revenues and current expenditure) was 182.5 billion rupees (3.8 percent of GDP) for 2009 and capital expenditure was 6.5 percent of GDP taking the total budget gap to 10.3 percent.

The numbers were provisional, indicating that the final out-turn may be different.

The finance ministry said a revenue shortfall, higher capital expenditure, higher interest payments and public sector wage escalations had helped expand the deficit.

Update III A fiscal report released ahead of elections due in April said the budget deficit financed from borrowings only (after grants) had expanded to 9.7 percent of GDP or 469.6 billion rupees in 2009 from a target deficit of 342.8 billion rupees or 7.0 percent of GDP.

The overall deficit target in the report corresponds to a 7.5 percent of GDP budget deficit with grants against a revised 7.0 p