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Bolivia prepares $8.1 billion in 2017 budget for public investment

Staff Writer |
Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia announced that the country's budget for 2017 included a public investment of $8.1 billion to maintain economic growth.

Speaking to the legislative assembly, to which the budget was being presented for approval, Garcia said that the government was predicting a GDP growth of 4.8 percent in 2017 and a nominal GDP of around 38 billion dollars.

Alongside Garcia, Economy and Public Finance Minister Luis Arce Catacora asked the assembly to rapidly approve the budget.

Concerning allegations that the budget would not be submitted to the assembly's scrutiny, the government officials said that the opposition had been "lying" to the public, in an attempt to embarrass the administration of President Evo Morales.

For 2017, the government is also planning to increase public debt to cover this rise in investment. In 2016, the government is set to spend over $6 billion in public spending.

Catacora said that, despite economic adversity, the government has prioritized economic development through public investment and stimulating the internal market.

Much of Bolivia's budget in the past years has been based on high oil prices. However, the 2016 budget was based on a reference price of 45.16 dollars per barrel.

"The national government has the goal of increasing investment. Happily, we have the backing to contract debt to keep on investing.

"We will make every effort for investment, as it has been since 2006, to be the instrument of the country's economic growth," said the minister.

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