Abuja (Precise Post) – President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo Republic has pledged to reform and simplify business and tax laws to help boost economic growth as he was sworn in on Friday, prolonging his 38-year reign over the central African oil producer.
Known as “emperor” by some of his African peers, 77-year-old Sassou was re-elected with more than 88% of the vote in a March 21 presidential election. read more
Sassou said during a swearing in ceremony in the capital Brazzaville attended by several heads of states of the region that he aimed to focus on reviving and diversifying Congo’s battered economy that has been hit by declining oil prices.
Around 90% of revenue in the OPEC member state comes from oil.
Sassou said he aimed to make it easier for investors to do business in Congo, while tackling the country’s balance of payment deficit and debt burden.
But the country could face more headwinds after Australia’s Sundance Resources said last month it had referred a dispute with Congo to arbitration in London, where it is seeking $8.76 billion in damages after the government revoked its mining license. read more
“We need to improve business climate, simplify tax laws and improve commercial laws,” Sassou, adding that objective was to improve economic growth rate.
He did not give a figure, but the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its forecast on Thursday that Congo’s economy was expected to grow at 1% in 2022, after 0.2% growth expected this year, and a 7.8 contraction in last year.
The IMF had warned that the country’s debt which rose to over 100% of gross domestic product last year, was unsustainable.
Congo has been locked in prolonged negotiations with creditors over its debt which is delaying bailout talks and aid from the IMF. (Reuters).