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BRAZZAVILLE, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Congo Republic’s total government revenues have plummeted by 31.3 percent and revenues from the oil sector have fallen 65.1 percent since 2015 due to a slide in global crude prices, the prime minister said on Thursday.
The government is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout due after public or publicly guaranteed debt spiked this year to 110 percent of GDP, according to the IMF.
Credit rating agencies judge Congo to be at risk of default on its $363 million Eurobond because of its debt troubles, which have been exacerbated by a $1-billion legal dispute in a United States court.
Prime Minister Clement Mouamba said in a speech to lawmakers that the widening gap between public expenditures and revenues “is reflected in increasing budget deficits...whose financing has proved to be more and more precarious”.
Congo’s fiscal woes come despite increasing oil production. The government expects to raise output by 25 percent to 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) next year and leapfrog Equatorial Guinea as sub-Saharan Africa’s third-leading crude producer.
It also announced plans last month to replace the board of directors and appoint an audit committee at state oil company SNPC, in an effort to improve accountability and convince international lenders to provide financial support. (Reporting By Christian Elion; Writing by Aaron Ross)