Morocco to split energy windfall between deficit, spending
The government obtained a precautionary $5 billion, 24-month financing facility from the International Monetary Fund in July
Morocco’s government is likely to split any budget windfall due to lower energy prices between deficit reduction and fresh spending, Finance Minister Mohamed Boussaid said.
“We are looking at three things: reducing the deficit, public investment and increasing social services,” Boussaid told Reuters on the sidelines of a business conference late on Thursday.
The government, which obtained a precautionary $5 billion, 24-month financing facility from the International Monetary Fund in July, estimated last month that its budget deficit would shrink to 4.3 percent of gross domestic product next year from 4.9 percent this year.
That forecast assumed an average oil price of $103 a barrel. With Brent crude now below $80, state finances are set to benefit if current prices are sustained.
The government ended subsidies for gasoline and fuel oil early this year, reducing the budget’s exposure to oil prices. But it maintains diesel subsidies at a reduced level as well as big subsidies for cooking gas, one of the most politically sensitive commodities.
It could also benefit from lower oil prices because of the boost to economic growth and tax revenues; energy imports cost the resource-poor country about $9 billion in the first 10 months of this year.
Boussaid estimated last month that the economy would grow 4.4 percent next year, up from 2.5 percent this year, but he said on Thursday that growth would accelerate to higher levels if oil prices stayed low for an extended period.
Qatar denies replacing Morocco as new hosts of CAN 2015Morocco refused to host the tournament over fears of Ebola Sports
Exclusive: one-on-one with Morocco’s Assaad BouabHe is a successful actor, but is surely inclined towards playing a rock star! This is the role popular Moroccan actor Assaad Bouab wishes to ... Reports
Equatorial Guinea to host 2015 African Cuptorial Guinea replaced Morocco after asking for the tournament to be delayed over Ebola fears Sports
Morocco arrests five would-be jihadistsMore than 2,000 Moroccans, including people with dual citizenship, are believed to have signed on with jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq Africa
Global summit in Morocco celebrates women entrepreneursThe Global Entrepreneurship Summit highlights the importance of women entrepreneurship in economic growth and job creation Economy