Bolivia to invest US$2.5bn in infra projects

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bolivia's government plans to invest US$2.5bn in infrastructure projects next year, part of a total US$6.18bn public spending budget, a senior government official said.

The administration of President Evo Morales aims to increase public spending 37% from last year, economy minister Luis Arce said.

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Congress will vote this month on the 2015 budget, 80% of which will be financed by the treasury and 20% by external financing sources, Arce said.

"Bolivia is increasingly sovereign and more autonomous regarding external financing for the growth of its economy," Arce told reporters in La Paz. "We will continue with the model of producing more - that hasn't changed."

Infrastructure investment will include the telecom, energy, water and transport sectors, Arce said. Another US$1.77bn will be allocated to boosting production in mining, oil and gas, agriculture and the manufacturing industry, as well as the tourism, he said.

The government also plans to disburse US$1.69bn through social investment programs, including education, health, water and sewage and housing.

Bolivia's US$31bn economy is expected to expand 5.9% in 2015 compared with an estimate of 5.7% this year, while the inflation rate will slow to 5% from 5.5% in 2014, Arce said.

Annual GDP will expand to US$36.2bn next year, he said. Fiscal deficit will run at 3.6% of GDP next year, compared with a 4.6% fiscal surplus last year, Arce said.

President Morales, who was re-elected to a third consecutive term last month, has expropriated oil, mining, water and telecommunications companies and pension funds since taking office in 2006 in a bid to give the state more control over the Andean nation's economy.