LISBON Dec 12 Angola's ruling MPLA party on
Thursday used its parliament majority to pass a 2014 budget bill
that opposition parties said allocated too little for health,
education and non-oil business sectors, state news agency Angop
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has pledged to improve
distribution of wealth in Angola, which is Africa's
second-biggest oil producer but where 35 percent of an estimated
18 million people struggles in poverty.
The government says it has earmarked nearly a third of total
spending of 5.3 trillion kwanzas (around $55 billion) for
health, education and social support.
"With this approval, the state can contribute to better
promotion and protection of rights, given the importance it
gives to the social sector but also to justice in general,"
Angop cited MPLA bench leader Virgilio Ferreira as saying.
Opposition parties disagreed, saying they doubt the budget
can resolve Angola's problems.
"(The budget) disdains important sectors such as education,
health, agriculture and fishing," said Raul Danda, bench for
leader for main opposition party UNITA.
Angola has posted rapid growth since the end of a 27-year
civil war in 2002 thanks to an oil sector which represents over
95 percent of the country's export income.
The budget forecasts economic growth of 8.8 percent next
year, compared to an estimated 5.1 percent in 2013.
The government expects to run up a deficit of 5 percent next
year as it raises spending on infrastructure to help diversify
UNITA and other opposition parties have, however, accused
Dos Santos - who has been in power since 1979 - of spending too
much on defense and public order items while under-funding
potential sectors such as farming and fishing.
(Reporting by Shrikesh Laxmidas; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)