JAKARTA : Indonesia recorded a 464.3 trillion rupiah ($29.77 billion)fiscal deficit in 2022, or 2.38 per cent of gross domestic product, based on unaudited data, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Tuesday, much smaller than originally forecast.
The government had initially planned for a budget deficit of 4.85 per cent of GDP. Revenue collection, however, got a boost from higher commodity prices and the easing of COVID restrictions last year, prompting the government to revise down the deficit forecast several times.
The latest figure was below a forecast on Dec. 21, when President Joko Widodo said he expected a 2.49 per cent deficit, and means fiscal consolidation has been faster than planned.
By law, the government has room to spend more, with a legal budget deficit ceiling of 3 per cent of GDP waived for three years from 2020 to allow for a pandemic response.
Southeast Asia’s largest economy likely grew 5.2 per cent last year, Sri Mulyani told an online news conference. Economic growth in 2021 was 3.7 per cent and the government is targetting a 5.3 per cent GDP expansion this year.
Indonesia recorded 2,626.4 trillion rupiah of revenue last year, up 30.6 per cent from 2021 and about 16 per cent bigger than the target, the minister said.
The government spent 3,090.8 trillion rupiah, slightly below the planned amount and representing 11 per cent growth from the previous year.
Of that, 551.2 trillion rupiah was spent to subsidise fuel prices and power tariffs. This was also below previous official estimate.
The government raised subsidised fuel prices by about 30 per cent in September due to budget pressures stemming from high global energy prices. At the time, authorities said the fuel price hike would cut the energy subsidy budget by some 48 trillion rupiah, bringing the total estimated budget to 650 trillion rupiah.
Given the strong 2022 financial position, Sri Mulyani has said she would carry over any excess cash to reduce borrowing in 2023.
She did not disclose the amount of excess cash by the end of 2022, but reiterated a commitment to “optimise” the fund “to anticipate financing needs amid global economic uncertainties”.
Indonesia expects a fiscal deficit of 2.84 per cent of GDP in 2023.
($1 = 15,595.0000 rupiah)