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BRAZZAVILLE, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Congo Republic’s 2017 budget will be around 45 percent lower than initially planned at 1.5 trillion CFA francs ($2.6 billion), as the west African country tightens its belt while negotiating an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.
Government spokesman Thierry Moungalla said on Wednesday the revised budget deficit for 2017 was 225 billion CFA francs. This equals about 4.5 percent of its 5 trillion CFA franc annual GDP.
The IMF said it had begun talks on Tuesday with Congo Republic over a bailout to help the oil producer reduce its rapidly rising debt.
Total government revenue has slid by nearly a third since 2015 due largely to lower global crude prices. Public or publicly guaranteed debt surged this year to around 110 percent of GDP, the IMF has said.
Moungalla said fiscal receipts for 2017 were estimated at 1.24 trillion CFA francs. He said the government had so far underspent by around 52 percent. Previously, it had budgeted to spend 2.74 trillion CFA francs.
Holders of Congo’s Eurobond are keenly watching efforts to get back on top of its debt, which has been complicated by a $1-billion legal dispute in a United States court.
Several rating agencies have warned of a high risk of default. (Reporting by Christian Elion; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Mark Potter)