Sao Tome and Principe government launches measures to contain public spending

15 May 2006

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 15 May – The government of Sao Tome and Principe has launched a set of measures to reduce public spending and boost the general state budget (OGE), due to the archipelago’s fragile financial state.

The announcement was made Friday in a government statement read out by Justice Minister, Justino Veigas, after a Cabinet Meeting headed by President Fradique de Menezes.

The measures taken including suspending the project for refurbishment of the country’s central bank, which had been valued at some US$8 million.

“The cabinet suspended the work in order to look at it more closely as the figures projected are not compatible with containment efforts, which is required by the whole country,” said the government spokesman.

Veigas added that the “entire process” of selling State vehicles over the last six months had been suspended in order to revalue the acquisition processes and bring more funds to the state’s coffers, and investigate claims that there have been illegal sales of state vehicles.

Without giving figures, Veigas said that a proposal put forward by the Minister for Planning and Finance to boost the state budget by US$15 million had been approved. The extra funds are from the sale of oil blocs in the joint exploration area with Nigeria, he said.

Local and regional elections are scheduled for July 9 and presidential elections are due on July 30, according to Sao Tome’s electoral calendar.

Amongst priority actions, as well as issues relating to the “illegal” occupation of apartments and boosting measures against the resurgence of a cholera epidemic, the government of Prime Minister Tomé Vera Cruz has scheduled a “special” cabinet meeting to discuss the country’s power supply “problem.”

The government has also said it is urgent to finish work on a new public market in the Sao Tome capital, valued at US$2 million, invested by the Taiwanese authorities as part of a bilateral cooperation agreement.

This was the first cabinet meeting headed by President Menezes with members of the new government which took office less than three weeks ago. (macauhub)