World Bulletin / News Desk
Niger, among the world's newest oil-producing nations, has increased its 2012 budget by over 10 percent to 1.45 trillion CFA francs ($2.68 billion) as it struggles to cope with drought and conflicts along its porous borders, the government said.
The increase is the second so far this year in the arid West African nation, where average income per head is around a dollar a day. Under the new budget, spending is due to grow by 55 percent compared to 2011.
"All the supplementary allocations are covered by additional exterior resources and new internal resources as well as by restructuring funds along existing budgetary lines," the government said in a statement read on state television.
President Issoufou Mahamoudou, who took office little over a year ago, has promised to invest 6 trillion CFA francs in education, health, agriculture, infrastructure and job creation over the next five years.
But his government has been forced to grapple with a recurring food crisis as well as fallout from last year's war in neighbouring Libya. It also shares a border with northern Mali, currently under the control of rebels and Islamist groups.
Nearly a third of the new increase is ear-marked for defence and security spending.
Niger announced on Wednesday that it was doubling the daily wages of low-ranking soldiers and police from 1,500 to 3,000 francs.
Already a top uranium producer, Niger pumped the first oil from its estimated 650 million barrels of reserves in November through a $5 billion joint venture deal with Chinese oil company CNPC.
The government signed nine production sharing agreements with five oil firms earlier this month as it seeks to diversify its foreign partners.
Last Mod: 26 Temmuz 2012, 17:34