DUBAI - Kuwait, facing one of the worst economic crunches in the oil-exporting Gulf region, posted an actual deficit of 5.64 billion dinars ($18.44 billion) in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, it said on Thursday, a 69% increase year on year.
Total revenues fell by over 16% in the fiscal year which ended in March to 17.22 billion, the finance ministry said on Twitter, while expenditure decreased by 3.2% to 21.14 billion dinars.
Kuwait is scrambling to boost state coffers badly hit by the coronavirus crisis and low crude prices.
Kuwait transfers 10% of total annual revenues to one of its sovereign funds, the Future Generations Fund.
In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the transfer amounted to 1.72 billion dinars, meaning before the transfer the deficit recorded for the year was 3.92 billion dinars, the ministry said.
The government plans to issue between 4 billion and 5 billion dinars ($13 billion to $16 billion) in public debt by the end of the fiscal year ending March 2021 if parliament approves a long-debated debt law, a government document seen by Reuters showed.
The law, which was formally submitted to parliament last month, would allow it to borrow 20 billion dinars ($65 billion) over 30 years.
Legislators have been requesting more visibility from the state about use of the funds and repayment mechanisms given the government's heavy reliance on oil income. Revenue from oil made up 89% of the total in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the finance ministry said.
($1 = 0.3058 Kuwaiti dinars)
(Reporting by Davide Barbuscia and Yousef Saba; Editing by Nick Macfie) ((Davide.Barbuscia@thomsonreuters.com; +971522604297; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))