Kuwait City: Kuwait on Monday projected a $24-billion deficit in its new fiscal year budget despite a massive spending cut due to plunging oil prices.
Revenues for 2015-2016 are projected at $41.1 billion, 43.6 percent down from estimates in the current year, Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh said.
The budget cuts spending to $65.1 billion, 17.8 percent below estimates in the current budget, the minister said.
Saleh said the budget for the new fiscal year, which starts April 1, was approved by the cabinet Monday and still needed to be debated by parliament.
OPEC member Kuwait relies heavily on income from oil, whose price has crashed by around 60 percent since last June.
The price of Kuwaiti crude has plummeted from around $103 a barrel last year to about $41 a barrel currently.
Kuwait projected a budget deficit in the past 15 fiscal years but ended up with a healthy surplus each year due to high oil prices.
But this year`s deficit is the largest to date.
Oil income in the new budget is calculated on the basis of $45 a barrel, down from this year`s $75 a barrel.
Saleh said the government has no plans to cut wages and allocations for development projects.
Sustained surpluses over the past 15 years have boosted fiscal reserves of the Gulf state`s sovereign wealth fund to around $550 billion, according to unofficial estimates.
Kuwait has a native population of 1.25 million, in addition to 2.8 million foreigners, and pumps about 3.0 million barrels of oil per day.