October 17, 2019 / 2:21 PM / 2 months ago

Moroccan government expects growth to improve to 3.7% in 2020: government spokesman

RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco’s economy is expected to grow 3.7% in 2020 from 2.9% this year, government spokesman Hassan Abayba said on Thursday.

The estimate is based on an average cereals harvest of 7 million tonnes and an oil barrel price at 67 dollars, Abayba told reporters following the weekly government council.

Morocco, where agriculture makes up about 15% of gross domestic product, is also a major energy importer in North Africa.

The central bank and the IMF said Morocco’s economy will only grow by 2.7% this year from 3% in 2018 following a drop in cereals production to 5.2 million tonnes, down 49% from a year earlier.

Separately, under the 2020 draft budget, to be submitted to parliament on Monday, the government will press ahead with privatization and will focus on education, health, employment and promoting investments, Abayba said without offering further details on the budget deficit estimates.

The Moroccan government said the budget deficit will be cut to 3.5% this year from 3.7 in 2018, thanks to the sale of 8% stake of Morocco’s largest telecom operator Maroc Telecom last June.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi

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