Sri Lanka budget gap widens in January: data

Apr 29, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s budget gap widened in January 2010 from a year earlier, with revenues rising modestly but unable to keep up with current spending, which accelerated almost three times faster, official data shows. The government raised 48.3 billion rupees in revenues in January up 5.2 percent from 2009, but still below the 2008 level of 51.9 billion rupees.

Spending Spree

Meanwhile current spending grew 15.1 percent to 94.4 billion rupees, just short of double the revenues, up from 82 billion rupees a year earlier. In January Sri Lanka had presidential elections.

The government was left with a revenue deficit of 46.1 billion rupees, up from 36.1 billion rupees a year earlier.

In 2009 Sri Lanka’s revenues actually fell in nominal terms amid an economic slump, but this year though revenues are up, spending is growing faster.

The revenue deficit or the gap between total revenue and day-to-day expenses is now about 0.8 percent of gross domestic product, against a planned 1.9 percent for the full year indicated in a pro-forma budget published in a fiscal report in February.

Sri Lanka is now on an interim mini-budget or ‘vote on account’ which had authorised the government to spend