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DAKAR, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Cameroon has nearly tripled its debt issuance plans for 2015 to 900 billion CFA francs ($1.56 billion), amid a shortfall in oil revenues due to the slump in global oil prices.
President Paul Biya signed a decree on Friday, authorising the government to “issue debt including Treasury bills and bonds of up to 900 billion CFA francs to finance development projects”, according to the president’s website.
The government had initially planned to issue 320 billion francs in debt this year, compared with 280 billion CFA francs issued last year.
The statement on the website did not give any further details, but state newspaper Cameroon Tribune said on Monday that a fall in oil prices had forced the government to revise its borrowing needs. Oil is Cameroon’s top revenue earner, contributing about 20 percent to the budget.
The cocoa, crude, and timber-producing Central African country, follows other oil-dependent nations such as neighbours Nigeria and Gabon, which have revised their oil benchmarks, cut spending and introduced other austerity measures due to the fall in oil prices.
Cameroon set a benchmark oil price of $89 a barrel in its budget for 2015 but crude prices have fallen sharply since the middle of last year. Brent crude oil for March was trading at $57.46 a barrel on Monday. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Susan Fenton)