Plan for $7.3 billion in
treasury bonds at one percent
Deficit-to-GDP projected at 8.3 percent in 2019 draft budget
The Ministry of Finance plans to issue nearly LL11,000 billion ($7.3 billion) in treasury bonds denominated in lira at an interest rate of one percent.
The issue will be carried out in coordination with the Central Bank (BDL) and the commercial banks after the ratification of the budget, according to Minister of Finance Ali Hassan Khalil. This will help reduce 2019’s debt servicing costs by LL1,000 billion ($663 million), he said.
Khalil said that the projected fiscal deficit in this year’s draft budget represents 8.3 percent of the country’s GDP or less. This compares with 11.2 percent of GDP in 2018.
At the CEDRE donor conference the government had pledged to reduce the deficit by one percent on an annual basis over a period of five years.
Treasury bonds and bills denominated in the national currency stood at $51.3 billion at the end of February 2019, according to BDL’s data. Treasury bonds with a maturity of more than one year totaled $49.9 billion with the remaining $1.4 billion consisting of treasury bills with a maturity of less than one year.
The gross total debt reached $86.2 billion at the end of the first quarter of the current year.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
Date Posted: May 20, 2019