Kuwait’s fiscal deficit narrowed to 3bn dinars ($9.8bn) in the year through March, a drop of more than 72% on the previous year as oil prices recovered.
The Opec member recorded the highest non-oil revenue in seven years, up 38.5% to 2.4bn dinars, according to a Ministry of Finance statement on Sunday. Oil revenue surged 84.5% to 16.2bn dinars.
Years of political tensions have thwarted Kuwait’s fiscal reforms and stymied efforts to diversify the oil-reliant economy and promote foreign investment.
The country hasn’t been to the market since a debut Eurobond in 2017. Lawmakers have said the government should better manage its finances before resorting to debt.
“Naturally, the rebounding oil price in the second half of the fiscal year helped shore up Kuwait’s revenue,” said Finance Minister Abdulwahab al-Rasheed. “Kuwait has one of the strongest sovereign balance sheets in the world, with one of the lowest sovereign debt to GDP levels globally, and a strong rebounding economy.”
Other highlights:
n Total income for the year through March rose 76.9% to 18.6bn dinars, while spending was 21.6bn dinars.
n Salaries and subsidies in the 2021-22 fiscal year accounted for 76% of spending, at 16.4bn dinars.
n 12% of expenses, or 2.6bn dinars, was on capital expenditure. The average price of Kuwaiti crude in the period was $80.7 a barrel.
A 10% transfer of total revenues to the FGF didn’t take place in line with a law passed by parliament in 2020 to halt such transfers in years of deficit.
Kuwait has projected the country’s smallest deficit in nine years for the current fiscal year, which started April 1, due to higher oil prices. Spending is estimated at 23.53bn dinars and revenue at 23.40bn dinars. Oil income this year is based on a projected average price of $80 a barrel.
Issuing debt or withdrawing from the FGF “will implicate more than half of the country’s citizens, who are under 24 years old, to bear the burden of paying those debts or the gradual depletion of what is supposed to be reserved for future generations,” Kuwait-based Al-Shall Economic Consultants said in a report yesterday.
“The increase in public expenditures in the future will be nothing but an increase in current expenditures, which are driven by inflation, depriving the current generation to benefit from those expenditures as they are not spent on improving education, housing, health or projects that provide sustainable job opportunities,” Al-Shall said.

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