Niger - Public finance

Budgets are nominally balanced but only through the infusion of foreign loan funds and grants. Expenditures have been severely constrained because of the fall in receipts from the sale of uranium ore due to decline in world demand. The end of the uranium boom in the late 1980s left the public sector poorly equipped to adapt, as public expenditures had focused on intrastructure and construction projects at the expense of agricultural development. Uranium exports earnings more than halved from 1987 to 1998. Niger never completely recovered from the CFA franc devaluation. Consequently, heavy foreign debts were incurred. However, the country is eligible under the IMF's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative for enhanced debt relief, and reached decision point in January 2001 and is expected to reach completion point by September 2003.

Privatization is underway in Niger, but more for budgetary and financial rather than structural purposes. As of April 2003, the Nigerien government had sold five formerly state-owned companies, including water and telephone utilities, and expected to privatize another seven companies in that year.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that in 2002 Niger's central government took in revenues of approximately $320 million and had expenditures of $320 million including capital expenditures of $178 million. External debt totaled $1.6 billion.

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