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Niger government adopts $2.53 bln budget for 2013

NIAMEY, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Niger’s government has adopted a zero-deficit budget of 1.279 trillion CFA francs ($2.53 billion) for 2013, about 11 percent lower than the previous year, a statement on national television said.

The government said the budget, adopted on Friday, will focus on boosting growth and ensuring security in West African state just south of the Sahara.

Niger is struggling to overcome food shortages caused by poor rains, and growing threats from Islamic militants who have seized the north of neighbouring Mali.

“The Council of Ministers adopted the draft 2013 budget balanced in revenues and expenditures at 1.279 trillion CFA francs,” the statement said.

Despite the food crisis that has affected about six million of its 15 million inhabitants, Niger is expecting economic growth of between 12 to 15 percent on the back of uranium mining, oil and infrastructure projects.

Already a top uranium producer, Niger began pumping its first oil from the estimated 650 million barrels of reserves in the first quarter of 2012.