Belgium - Public finance

The government's budgetary year coincides with the calendar year. In the final months of the year, the minister of finance places before Parliament a budget containing estimated revenues and expenditures for the following year, and a finance law authorizing the collection of taxes is passed before 1 January. Inasmuch as expenditure budgets generally are not all passed by then, "provisional twelfths" enable the government to meet expenditures month by month, until all expenditure budgets are passed. Current expenditures, supposedly covered by the usual revenues (including all tax and other government receipts), relate to the normal functioning of government services and to pension and public debt charges. Capital expenditures consist mainly of public projects and are normally covered by borrowings.

Improvements in fiscal and external balances in the early 1990s and a slowdown in external debt growth enables the Belgian government to easily obtain loans on the local credit market. As a member of the G-10 group of leading financial nations, Belgium actively participates in the IMF, World Bank, and the Paris Club. Belgium is a leading donor nation, and it closely follows development and debt issues, particularly with respect to the DROC and other African nations.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that in 2000 Belgium's central government took in revenues of approximately $113.4 billion and had expenditures of $106 billion including capital expenditures of $7.2 billion. Overall, the government registered a surplus of approximately $7.4 billion. External debt totaled $28.3 billion.

The following table shows an itemized breakdown of government revenues. The percentages were calculated from data reported by the International Monetary Fund. The dollar amounts (millions) are based on the CIA estimates provided above.


REVENUE AND GRANTS 100.0% 113,400
Tax revenue 97.9% 111,034
Non-tax revenue 1.6% 1,835
Capital revenue 0.3% 338
Grants 0.2% 193

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