16:29 / 12.09.2023

Uzbekistan significantly increased gas import in H1 2023, state budget deficit reached 5.7%

In the first half of the year, after the import of natural gas increased by 7.2 times, consolidated budget expenses exceeded revenues by 27 trillion soums. This deficit was mainly covered by the previous year’s balance of funds and borrowing.

Photo: Uztransgaz

In the first half of 2023, the revenues of the consolidated budget of the Republic of Uzbekistan amounted to 153.8 trillion soums, and the expenses amounted to 180.8 trillion soums.

The consolidated budget deficit amounted to 26.9 trillion soums or 5.7% of the GDP (470 trillion soums).

This is stated in the report on the first half of 2023 implementation of the state budget and the budgets of state special funds, published by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. For information, this year’s budget law states that the consolidated annual deficit should not exceed 3%.

According to the ministry’s report, the volume of natural gas production in the country amounted to 23.6 billion cubic meters. Despite the decrease of 9.6% compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, the volume of gas import amounted to 2.6 billion cubic meters (364 million cubic meters in 2022). In order to provide the population and economic sectors with continuous natural gas, compared to the corresponding period of the previous year by 7, it increased by 2 times.

This data on natural gas imports contradicts the official figures of the Statistics Agency. According to the agency, in the first half of 2023, Uzbekistan imported gas worth $200 million, which was 2.6 times more than in the corresponding period of the previous year. Although the Statistics Agency shows the volume of imports in price value, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance shows the volume of imports in physical volume, several times the discrepancy between them is clearly visible.

It should be recalled that anomalous cold weather was observed throughout the republic in January, and the government had to take measures for the urgent import of natural gas to mitigate its consequences. Mamarizo Nurmurodov, the CB Chairman, said earlier that the sharp increase in the budget deficit is due to the increase in gas imports.

It is known that the deficit of 26.9 trillion soums in the consolidated budget was financed from the following sources:

•  6.7 trillion soums due to attraction of state debt funds (including 1.7 trillion soums due to external debt funds, 5.0 trillion soums due to placement of state securities on the domestic market);
•  1.5 trillion soums from the proceeds derived from the privatization of state assets;
•  4.2 trillion soums of preferential loans from international financial institutions for the implementation of state programs;
•  14.5 trillion soums at the beginning of the year from the remaining funds of the state budget, state special funds, the Recovery and Development Fund and off-budgetary funds.

In the first half of the year (excluding interbudgetary transfers):

•  state budget revenues are 102.3 trillion soums (+11.1% compared to the first half of 2022), expenses are 116.8 trillion soums (+24.6%);
•  revenues of state trust funds are 25.9 trillion soums, expenses are 34.95 trillion soums;
•  revenues of the Recovery and Development Fund are 4.8 trillion soums, expenditures are 7.9 trillion soums;
•  inflows to off-budgetary funds of budget organizations are 20.9 trillion soums, outflows are 16.96 trillion soums;
•  expenses for state programs due to external debt amounted to 4.2 trillion soums.

During the reporting period, the costs of extinguishing the state debt reached 9.1 trillion soums.

74.6% of the state budget revenues were formed by the Tax Committee, 23.7% – by the Customs Committee. Tax revenues increased by 7.4% compared to the same period last year.

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