The provincial government is projecting the budget shortfall for this year and the next two years will total about $4-billion dollars.

Finance minister Jerome Kennedy made the prediction on Wednesday.

 "Essentially the budget, or the deficit, for 2012 is projected at mid-year to be $725 million. In 2013, we expect, or it's projected right now, to be $1.6 billion dollars and in 2014 - $1.6 billion dollars. We have a serious situation right now," said Kennedy.

The provincial government's pre-budget consultations are set to begin on Thursday in Carbonear.