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The Mozambican economy grew by only 3.7 per cent in 2017, rather than the 5.5 per cent forecast by the government.
Revealing this figure to reporters on Tuesday, at the end of the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), the government spokesperson, the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Culture, Ana Comoana, put a brave face on the disappointing result, saying it was better than the average growth rate for sub-Saharan Africa (2.7 per cent), and equal to the global average.
Comoana said the balance of trade improved last year, since Mozambican exports increased by 1.9 per cent, while imports fell by 22.8 per cent. The country’s net international reserves have risen, and are now sufficient to cover 7.3 months of imports of goods and non-factor services, excluding the imports of the foreign investment mega-projects.
As for inflation, Comoana said the average 12 monthly inflation rate for 2017 was 15.11 per cent, a slight improvement on the 15.5 per cent initially forecast. The average inflation for 2016 was 19.5 per cent.
If we just take the January to December inflation, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE), that was 5.65 per cent, a considerable improvement on the 23.67 per cent inflation from January to December 2016.
Comana said that over 2017 the government collected 213.78 billion meticais (about 3.5 billion US dollars) in revenue, plus a further 20.9 billion meticais in capital gains tax paid by the Italian energy company ENI on the sale of half its holding in Rovuma Basin Area Four (where huge reserves of natural gas have been discovered) to the US oil and gas giant ExxonMobil. Revenue was 14 per cent higher than the forecast in the 2017 budget.
Public expenditure over the year amounted to 242.29 billion meticais, which was only 89 per cent of what had been planned.
Source: AIM / TVM