Lebanon spent US$3b on debt interest in 2006

Lebanon has spent some US$3 billion (€2.32 billion), or about 62 percent of the country's revenues, to pay interest on its national debt last year, according to government economic figures released Thursday. A decline in revenues, partly because of the Israel-Hizbullah war, the Israeli siege of Beirut's airport and seaport and an increase in servicing the debt pushed the national deficit to 39% of total expenditure in fiscal 2006, which ended in December, the Finance Ministry said in a statement carried on the state-run news agency. Revenues totaled about 7.3 billion Lebanese pounds (US$4.86 billion/€3.75 billion), a drop from 7.4 billion (US$4.94 billion/€3.81 billion) in the previous year.