The civil war rendered normal budgetary procedures impossible, the budget being covered largely by US aid and monetary inflation. Deficit financing continued in the 1970s and 1980s, covered mostly by foreign aid from communist nations. With the collapse of this support, however, Laos has increasingly looked to foreign investment capital and Western lending agencies for financial support. Beginning in 1994, the IMF initiated an annual program of loans to assist the country with a structural adjustment program. It lent Laos $17 million in 1995. Still, 31% of the 1995 budget was international aid.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that in 1998/1999 Laos's central government took in revenues of approximately $211 million and had expenditures of $462 million. Overall, the government registered a deficit of approximately $251 million. External debt totaled $2.5 billion.