Khalil: Draft Budget Brings Down Deficit to Less Than 9 Percent

  • Economics
Khalil: Draft Budget Brings Down Deficit to Less Than 9 Percent

The government's 2019 draft budget reduces the deficit ratio to less than 9 percent of GDP, bringing it down from 11.2 percent in 2018, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil told Reuters.

The budget will pave the way for further deficit reductions in 2020 and 2021, he said.

The minister revealed that the budget encloses "wide" spending cuts amid the country's need for "exceptional" austerity measures to address the growing economic and financial challenges.

The budget forecasts an economic growth of 1.5 percent in 2019 and may reach around 2 percent when the situation improves, he pointed out.

"The most important thing is that we have put ourselves on the path of dealing with the accumulated deficit," Khalil said.

The minister stressed that the draft budget stipulates measures to address tax evasion and increase customs revenues.

It also includes tax amendments for people with high income, he added.

"There would be no tax increases for the poor and those with middle incomes," Khalil assured.

The minister described the draft as "transparent and realistic", affirming that it encloses many of the reforms pledged at the CEDRE conference.

The reforms include reducing the deficit in the power sector, controlling squandering and fighting corruption, he explained.