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Sunday, 9 January 2022

First look at next fiscal year’s budget

The Finance Ministry is penciling in 5.7% growth for its FY2022-2023 state budget, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said in a statement on Wednesday. That’s more or less on par with the 5.5-5.7% growth rate the government expects for the current fiscal year, which ends in June. Our growth is expected to gradually accelerate over the coming years to reach 6% in FY2024-2025, Maait said.

The budget deficit is expected to narrow to 6.1% in the upcoming fiscal year, with an eye to trim it further to 5.1% in FY2024-2025. The ministry is also looking to achieve a 2% primary surplus in the medium term, the statement says. Our primary surplus is expected to increase to 1.5% during the current fiscal year from 0.9% a year prior, with the ministry previously forecasting it dipping slightly to 1.3% in the upcoming fiscal year.

Medium-term debt strategy is moving forward: The government is planning to bring down our debt-to-GDP ratio to below 90% in FY2022-2023 and 82.5% by June 2025. Our debt service bill is also set to decline to 30% of total state expenditure next fiscal year, compared to 31.5% penciled in for FY2021-2022. The ministry is looking to achieve these debt targets by expanding its debt diversification strategy to extend the average tenor of our debt to five years, rather than the current average of 3.4 years.

Education and healthcare spending will also ramp up next fiscal year, the statement says. Maait did not break down the expected spending figures, saying only that the government plans to ramp up spending on the Decent Life initiative.

WHAT’S NEXT- The Finance Ministry plans to begin public consultations on the budget and the government’s strategic targets this month, ahead of shipping the draft bill to the House of Representatives for discussion and approval. Reuters also had the story.

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