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Burundi's 2013 budget plans aid-funded investment boost

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Thu, 27 Dec 2012 11:06 AM
Author: Reuters
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By Patrick Nduwimana

BUJUMBURA, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Burundi plans to raise state spending by 18 percent in 2013, its finance ministry said, as the aid-dependent country seeks to recover from years of civil war by investing in agriculture, energy, mining and tourism.

The budget, approved by parliament late on Wednesday, estimates tax revenues will rise to 621 billion francs in 2013, from 542.4 billion in 2012, helped by efforts to encourage business and to fight corruption and fiscal evasion.

At relative peace since rebels joined the government in 2009, Burundi is now working to quit the list of least developed countries and to start self-financing its national budget by 2025.

The 2013 budget predicts the economy, heavily dependent on coffee exports, will grow by 6.6 percent, up from an estimated 4.7 percent in 2012.

Spending will rise to 1.3 trillion francs (${esc.dollar}855 million) "because more funds will be injected in sectors that stimulate growth such as agriculture, mining, energy and tourism," the ministry said in its report on Thursday.

The budget projects a headline inflation rate of 14 percent in 2013 versus an estimated 8.4 percent in 2012, due to rising food and fuel prices.

International donors will fund 49 percent of the 2013 budget. While the central African nation's government fears that global economic and financial troubles could reduce external aid, it expects to receive grants worth 645.3 billion francs next year against 523.2 billion francs in 2012.

The government projects a deficit of 68.2 billion francs in 2013, down from 73.5 billion francs in 2012. (1USD=1544.5 Burundi francs) (Reporting by Patrick Nduwimana; Editing by George Obulutsa/Ruth Pitchford)

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