January 11, 2019 / 7:27 AM / 2 months ago

Kenya 2019/20 budget deficit forecast to fall, overall spending to rise - finance ministry

Kenya's Cabinet Secretary of National Treasury (Finance Minister) Henry Rotich holds up a briefcase containing the Government Budget for the 2018/19 fiscal year in Nairobi, Kenya June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya’s budget deficit is forecast to fall in the 2019/20 fiscal year, while overall spending will rise, the Finance Ministry said on Friday.

In a draft budget policy statement, the ministry said the budget deficit would drop to 5.0 percent of gross domestic product in the period from July to June, from a revised deficit of 6.3 pct of GDP in the 2018/19 fiscal year.

The deficit was forecast to fall further to 3.0 percent of GDP in 2022/23.

The policy statement said overall spending would rise to 2.70 trillion shillings ($26.56 billion) in 2019/20 from a revised 2.51 trillion shillings in the previous fiscal year.

To cover the deficit, the government will borrow 271.4 billion shillings from the domestic market in 2019/20 and 306.5 billion shillings from foreign sources, the ministry said.

The East African nation’s government increased borrowing and spending recently, leaving it with a fiscal deficit that peaked at 6.8 percent in the fiscal year ending in June, 2018.

In October, the International Monetary Fund said Kenya’s risk of defaulting on debt repayments had increased to moderate from low, citing the government’s public investment drive and revenue shortfalls in recent years.

($1 = 101.6500 Kenyan shillings)

Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Kirsten Donovan

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