World Bulletin/News Desk
Niger has increased budgetary spending for 2013 by six percent in part to help cover the costs of a military deployment aimed at driving rebels out of its West African neighbour Mali.
Niger, the world's least developed country according to the United Nations, sent around 670 soldiers into Mali earlier this year as part of a regional force participating in a French-led intervention.
"Taking this situation into account, the government is increasing by 25 billion CFA francs ($49.76 million) the budgetary allocation for the security and defence forces," said a statement read on state-owned television late on Monday.
With the rebels scattered into Mali's desert and mountains and as far as neighbouring Libya, France is looking to withdraw thousands of troops from its former colony and hand over security duties to a United Nations peacekeeping mission.
Niger's total budget will increase to 1.411 trillion CFA francs from 1.331 trillion with some of the additional spending the result of increased support from donors.
The government has also raised around 50 billion CFA francs through the issuance of treasury bills, the statement said.
Already a top uranium producer, Niger pumped the first oil from its estimated 650 million barrels of reserves in November 2011 through a $5 billion joint venture deal with Chinese state oil company CNPC.
The International Monetary Fund foresees economic growth of 6.2 percent this year for the mainly desert nation, significantly lower than the government's forecast of 8.6 percent.
Last Mod: 07 Mayıs 2013, 16:58