Budget deficit stands at 1.6%


Ethiopia’s proposed budget for 2013/14 leaves the country with a deficit of 16.6 billion birr or 1.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the same year.
During a parliamentary session, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Sufian Ahmed, briefed members of the House of Peoples’ Representatives on the draft budget for the 2006 Ethiopian fiscal year.
According to the document, from the proposed budget of 154.9 billion birr the Ministry projected that 138.3 billion birr will be collected for the next budget year.
From the 138.3 billion birr, 105.9 is projected to be collected from tax and non-tax revenues while 9.5 billion birr is expected to be secured from the Basic Protection Services schemes (BPS) and loan cancellation. Moreover, 22.8 billion birr is expected to be secured from grants and loans that shall be used for mega projects.  From the total budget for the next year, 71.43 percent is slated for road, education, agriculture, water, health and electric sectors, while another 14.71 percent of the budget is slated for defence and loan repayment.
The Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) typically managed to get the lion’s share of the budget, securing about 29 billion birr, once again indicating the priority set by the government for infrastructure and education which on its part is allotted 22.5 billion birr.  
During the next budget year, ERA plans to construct 912 kilometers of new roads, maintain 658 kilometers of roads and upgrade 202 kilometers of roads all over the country.
The Ministry of Education also targets to increase the enrolment of high-level education students from the current number of 185,788 to 467,445 students by the next budget year.
The Ministry of Defence received 7.5 billion birr, the Ministry of Agriculture 6.6 billion birr and the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation gets one billion birr from the budget.
From the total budget, 32.53 billion birr will be the country’s regular budget, a 5.7 billion birr increase from the current year’s budget.
The government also increased its capital budget by nearly 10 billion birr or 18.1 percent, making it 64.3 billion birr.
A little over 43 billion birr of the budget has been allotted to subsidize regional states, increasing subsidy by 7 billion birr. 15 billion birr is earmarked to support activities aimed at meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The budget allocated to meet the MDGs has shrank by 5 billion birr compared to its past fiscal year’s allotment.
The country’s budget has been growing by about 20 percent on average annually since the 2006/07 budget year.
The draft budget plan was referred to the Budget and Finance Affairs Standing Committee for further deliberations.