On Wednesday, 26 July, the National Assembly of São Tomé and Príncipe approved the Amending Budget for 2017, with the votes of the ruling Democratic Independent Action party, to include financing resulting from the new cooperation with the People’s Republic of China.
The proposal for the 2017 Amending Budget, approved last May by the Council of Ministers, was considered “unavoidable” by the government in view of “China’s expressed desire to initiate a new cycle of development cooperation focused on new areas of intervention and new financing.”
The Chinese funding, estimated at just over US$146 million, is the result of the implementation of the General Agreement on Economic, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation, signed last April in Beijing, following the re-establishment in December 2016 of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In addition to specific agreements, particularly in the energy, tourism, health and fisheries sectors, China also expressed readiness to finance construction of the deep-water port, the modernisation of São Tome’s international airport, as well as pardoning a debt valued at about US$28 million.
The budget framework for Chinese cooperation funds will be in line with the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which completed a two-month review of the archipelago’s macroeconomic programme to adjust expenditure to revenue and reduce the budget deficit to 1.8% of Gross Domestic Product in 2017. (macauhub)