October 18, 2018 / 8:47 PM / a month ago

Morocco’s government sees 2019 budget deficit down at 3.3 pct

RABAT, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Morocco’s 2019 draft budget forecasts a deficit narrowing to 3.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2019, down from 3.8 percent expected in 2018, a government statement said on Thursday.

Based on an average cereals harvest of seven million tonnes, 2019 economic growth is forecast at 3.2 percent, down from 3.6 percent this year, the government said in a statement issued after approving the draft budget at its weekly council.

Agriculture accounts for 14.5 percent of Morocco’s economy as abundant rainfall this year helped Morocco harvest an exceptional cereals output of 10.3 million tonnes.

The government also said it is planning to spend 17.67 billion dirhams on subsidies of wheat, cooking gas and sugar, up 4.65 billion dirhams compared with last year.

Spending on social services would increase by 5.4 billion dirhams to 68 billion dirhams in 2019, with most of it earmarked to education, health services and support for vulnerable social categories.

Firms with annual net profits above 40 million dirhams will be subject to a 2.5 percent solidarity tax on their net profit in 2019, the government said, as it attaches priority to narrowing social and spatial disparities in its draft budget.

Public investment would reach to 195 billion dirhams in 2019, up five billion dirhams from this year, the government said. (Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi, Editing by Ulf Laessing, William Maclean)

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