The Saskatchewan government is forecasting a $250-million deficit this fiscal year due to higher expenses related to the summer drought.
The mid-year financial report says the deficit puts Saskatchewan down $1.3 billion from budget, as the province had initially forecast a surplus of more than $1 billion.
Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said the unforeseen drought reduced crop production by 20 per cent.
“The drought was unforeseen, reducing projected crop production by 20 per cent in 2023, when compared to 2022,” Harpauer said, as she released the 2023-24 Mid-Year Report. “Crop insurance and relief programs are in place for Saskatchewan producers.
“Potash prices and sales dropped because potash from Russia and Belarus flowed to large markets including China and India despite being subject to Western sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
She said the province is projecting to spend $853 million more on agriculture than it initially budgeted.
Debt is now estimated to be $31.6 billion, up $709 million from what was budgeted.
At mid-year, total expense is forecast to be up $1.3 billion, or seven per cent from budget.
With files from the Canadian Press
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