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LatinNews Daily - 16 October 2020

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In brief: Nicaragua unveils 2021 state budget proposal

* Nicaragua’s finance minister, Iván Acosta, has presented the government’s 2021 budget proposal, which proposes spending of C$81.528bn (US$2.34bn), up from C$79.199bn in 2020 while income is projected to come in at C$80.67bn, down from C$80.901bn in 2020, leaving a deficit of C$857m. According to Acosta, 57.1% of spending will go on “fundamental issues” such as public health which would receive over C$17bn, or 21% of social spending, an increase of C$800m on 2020, while education will account for 24.6% of spending. He said that this will cover over 65,000 workers employed in the education sector and over 36,000 workers employed in health care. The budget, which now goes to the legislature for approval, also proposes public investment of over C$25bn, including investing over C$9bn in road infrastructure, C$4m in water & sanitation, and over C$4bn in the energy sector. The head of Nicaragua’s central bank (BCN), Ovidio Reyes, yesterday said that the BCN was forecasting that Nicaragua’s GDP would contract 4.5% in 2020 (within a ±1 percentage point range) due to the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and that inflation would come in at 3.7% (within a ±0.5% range), but the BCN press release did not include forecasts for 2021.