VENTURES AFRICA – Niger Republic has increased its 2012 budget by more than 10 percent, in line with what the government described as challenges posed by drought and conflicts along its porous borders.
This is the second time in 2012 that the arid West African nation, with average income per head hovering around $1 a day will be increasing its budget.
According to a statement by the government on national TV: “All the supplementary allocations are covered by additional exterior resources and new internal resources as well as by restructuring funds along existing budgetary lines.”
President Issoufou Mahamoudou, who was elected about a year ago, has promised to invest massively in education, health, agriculture, infrastructure and jobs. But his programme has been militated with food crisis in addition to the fallout of war in neighbouring Libya. Niger also shares a border with northern Mali, which is currently under the control of rebels and Islamist groups with links to Al-Qaeda.
It is therefore not surprising that about a third of the new budget increase has been earmarked for security and defence.
One of such aspect that require more funds is the recent government’s announcement of a 100 percent increase in the daily wages of Niger’s low-ranking soldiers and police.
The landlocked Sub-Saharan nation had an initial budget made with an expected growth rate of 55 percent.