October 2, 2016 / 7:57 AM / 4 years ago

Congo republic govt sees 2017 GDP growth rising to 3.4 pct

Traders display new Congolese currency bills in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa. July 3, 2012. REUTERS/Jonny Hogg

BRAZZAVILLE (Reuters) - Congo Republic plans to cut its budget by 24.3 percent in 2017 to 2.74 trillion CFA francs ($4.7 billion) as it reins in public spending following this year’s presidential election, the government said late on Friday.

Nevertheless, the government expects GDP growth to rise from 2.6 percent this year to 3.4 percent next year thanks to several new oil blocks which are expected to come online, government spokesman Thierry Moungalla said in a statement.

Congo is on track to reverse a decline in production and leapfrog Equatorial Guinea to become sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest crude producer by next year.

However, it is the most resource-dependent country in the world, according to the World Bank, with commodities accounting for nearly 60 percent of economic output and with about half the population in poverty.

President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who has ruled Congo for 32 of the last 37 years, extended his time in office by winning re-election in March this year after changing the constitution to allow himself to stand for a third consecutive term.

Sassou Nguesso had encouraged the government “to set an example by reducing the operating costs of the state,” the statement said.

Reporting by Christian Elion in BRAZZAVILLE; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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