Vietnam’s budget deficit tops $4.63bn in January-July: ministry

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Vietnam’s budget deficit tops $4.63bn in January-July: ministry

Vietnam’s government spending in the first seven months of 2015 overshot its budget plan by more than US$4.5 billion, the Ministry of Finance said. State budget revenue in the seven-month period reached VND544.6 trillion ($25.02 billion), up 6.6 percent from the same period last year and 9.8 percent higher than estimated, the ministry said in a press release on Monday.

But government expenditure between January and July was as high as VND645.3 trillion ($29.64 billion), an 8.1 percent rise from a year ago and 6.3 percent higher than estimated.

The Southeast Asian country thus reported a budget deficit of VND100.7 trillion ($4.63 billion) in the year to July.

As of the end of July, Vietnam earmarked VND94.4 trillion ($4.34 billion) for repaying public debts and foreign aid, up 15.4 percent from the seven-month period in 2014, as many debts were due during the period.

The country also spent VND99.45 trillion ($4.57 billion), 6.3 percent more than last year, on investment and development purposes.

Vietnam’s domestic revenue in the seven months rose 15.7 percent year on year to VND404.36 trillion ($18.57 billion), indicating that the improved economy has generated bigger earnings for the state budget, according to the finance ministry.

Revenue from crude oil, however, shrank 33.9 percent from a year earlier to VND42.27 trillion ($1.94 billion) due to the downward trend on the global market.

The Southeast Asian country has so far issued VND114.5 trillion ($5.26 billion) worth of government bonds to offset the excessive budget spending and to cover investment and development expenditure, according to the finance ministry.

The bond issuance, however, faced many difficulties, as commercial banks and credit institutions were “not interested in buying bonds with a term as long as five years,” Phan Thi Thu Hien, deputy head of the credit division under the finance ministry, explained.

The Ministry of Finance has thus proposed borrowing VND30 trillion ($1.38 billion) from the State Bank of Vietnam, the country’s central bank, to make up for the government overspending, according to Deputy Minister Huynh Quang Hai.

Vietnam saw a budget deficit equal to 5.2 percent of GDP in 2012, and 6.6 percent a year later, according to VietNamNet.

The country reported a budget deficit of 5.3 percent of GDP last year, while the ratio this year is projected to be five percent.