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Kuwait budget deficit reaches $18bn

August 14, 2020 at 1:43 pm

Kuwaiti money, 21 December 2017 [Sathishkumar Neyveli Sandiyar/Facebook]

Kuwait, facing one of the worst economic crunches in the oil-rich state’s history, posted an actual deficit of $18.44 billion in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the Finance Minister said yesterday.

Total revenues fell by over 16 per cent in the fiscal year which ended in March, dropping to 17.22 billion Kuwaiti dinars ($56.3 billion), the Finance Ministry announced on Twitter.

Kuwait has been scrambling to boost state coffers badly hit by the coronavirus crisis and low crude prices.

The government plans to issue between $13-$16 billion in public debt by the end of the fiscal year ending March 2021 if parliament approves a long-debated debt law.

According to a report published by the World Bank, COVID-19 has been the severest blow dealt to the Kuwaiti economy since the 1990 Iraqi invasion.

READ: Kuwait national assembly refers oil sector violations to government

The coronavirus, it explained, affected the performance of Kuwait’s “most significant economic activities”, stressing that the current situation required “a road map for clear economic reform that achieves the government’s Vision 2035.”

As a result of the economic downturn, the country’s cabinet agreed to cut government budgets by at least 20 per cent during the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

A total of 63,773 people in Kuwait have contracted the virus, 433 of whom have died and 54,373 others have recovered, according to Worldometre.