Dominican Rep: against all odds, 2013 fiscal deficit on target
The Ministry of Finance just released final figures on the fiscal deficit for 2013. It set the deficit at DOP 70.0 bn, slightly below the level authorized by the 2013 Budget Law. This is equivalent to 2.77% of GDP. The target was 2.8% of GDP. Total spending reached DOP 442.2 bn and revenues totaled DOP 372.2 bn. Minister Simón Lizardo claimed that the government had to cut spending over DOP 19.1 bn in order to accomplish the goal, reflecting its strong commitment to abide by the law. The Minister added that this result was reached in spite of an unfavorable context characterized by lower fiscal revenues than expected. However, the reality was that the government was forced to significantly increase investment spending in December (in particular in education infrastructure) in order to counteract weak capital spending performance along the year and to reach both, fiscal deficit goal (2.8% of GDP) as well as public spending in education (4% of GDP). Press reports revealed a dramatic increase in government disbursements in public schools construction projects during the last weeks of the year.