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Is Maldives going down Sri Lanka's path?: Concern on Budget Deficits

The graphs below depict the Primary Balances and budget balances as a percentage of GDP for Maldives and Sri Lanka. Besides 2017 and 2018, Sri Lanka’s annual Primary Balance has consistently been a deficit with 2021 reporting the largest deficit of 6 percent. Maldives follows a consecutive negative trend in their Primary Balance with the largest deficit of 21 percent in 2020. These numbers signal a similar path to Sri Lanka for Maldives in terms of their Primary Balances.

When looking at Budget Balances, Sri Lanka and Maldives appear to be following a similar trend. Both countries exhibit a similar trend of having large deficits. For both Maldives and Sri Lanka the largest deficits are seen in 2020, 23% for Maldives and 13% for Sri Lanka. Running persistent deficits would add a significant debt burden to the economy as they need to be financed by borrowing making it vulnerable to an economic crisis. 

Primary balance is the overall budget balance excluding net interest payment (interest expenditure minus interest revenue).

Budget balance is the difference between total government revenue and total government expenditure.

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