Steering Off endash Budget Report

The government is expecting to end the year with a budget deficit of 8.9 per cent of GDP, which is just 0.4 per cent off target.rn

rnThis is the best any government has done in recent years, with deficit target of 1.5 per cent to 2.5 percentage points being an accepted norm.rn

rnThe overall deficit was kept manageable largely by cutting capital expenditure to 4.6 per cent of GDP from a planned 5.4 per cent.rn

rnBut more disturbingly, the current account deficit expanded to a massive 4.3 per cent of GDP up from a projected 3.4 per cent, though it was lower than the 4.9 per cent high hit in 2001.rn

rnThe current account measures the gap between total revenue and current expenditure, which is positive in well, managed economies.rn

rnAccording to the three budget projections presented to parliament by Finance Minister K. N. Chocksy the government is planning to almost balance the current account in 2004 with a deficit of a mere 0.1 per cent.rn

rnIn 2005 the government is hoping to post a 1.8 per cent