Country Listing

Mauritania Table of Contents


Government Finances

In 1986, with IMF and World Bank support, the government prepared its first consolidated budget. Before this, budgetary procedures covered only expenditures financed through domestic resources. The new procedures covered all financing sources used by the government in a budget encompassing both internally and externally financed current and capital expenditures.

Between 1979 and 1984, expenditures on current operations averaged UM10.5 billion. Typically, domestic revenues covered about two-thirds of this amount; the balance was financed by direct external budgetary support. Between 1978 and 1983, the government wage bill (including military salaries) constituted the largest line item of current expenditures. The second largest expenditure was for equipment and supplies.

In addition to current expenditures, the central government budget allocated smaller amounts for capital expenditures, which amounted to the government's contribution to the public investment program. Capital expenditures accounted for only between 8 and 11 percent of the total budget in the period 1979- 83, far less than current expenditures.

Mauritania's domestic revenue base was very narrow and depended on the iron and fishing export industries and the service sector. Total government revenues were derived from taxes and nontax revenues. Between 1981 and 1986, nontax revenues accounted for from 11 to 20 percent of the total and consisted of fish royalties, penalties, and revenue transfers from public enterprises. Tax revenues were derived mainly from taxes on international trade and on income and profits. Between 1981 and 1986, taxes on international trade (of which import taxes were the most important) averaged 41 percent of all revenues, and taxes on income and profits represented 26 percent. Taxes on wages and salaries averaged more than 14 percent of all government revenues for this period.

Data as of June 1988