New budget takes peace agreement into account

Dec 2 (AFP)

Sudan has drawn up a budget for fiscal 2005 in line with a deal between the government and southern rebels that will serve as the basis for a comprehensive peace agreement, the finance minister was quoted as saying Thursday.

Revenue in the budget, approved by the cabinet on Wednesday and still to be passed by parliament, reflects a set-aside for the south of 50 percent of projected oil revenues generated there, Al-Zubair Ahmed al-Hassan said. He did not give any figures on production or on the value of it.

Revenues are estimated at 1.275 trillion dinars (4.9 billion dollars) and outlays at 1.451 trillion, with a deficit of 176 billion.

The minister said the share of the country's 26 states in the expenditures would be raised from 8.5 percent to 34 percent, with the 16 northern states getting 499.5 billion dinars and the southern states 274 billion.

He said his proposed budget does not include any new taxes or fees.

He added that the economy would grow by 7.5 percent, inflation would be kept at an average of eight percent and the dollar exchange rate tightened to 250 dinars and held at that level.