Burundi inflation slows to 15.8 percent

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BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – Burundi’s year-on-year inflation rate fell to 15.8 percent in August from 17.6 percent in July while food prices rose more slowly, the country’s statistics board said on Thursday.

The price index for food rose at a slower pace of 12.8 percent in the year to August compared to 14.1 percent in July, the Institute of Economic Studies and Statistics (ISTEEBU) said .

The central African nation’s government in May suspended taxes on basic imported food such as beans, rice and potatoes to provide relief for Burundian citizens affected by soaring costs of essential commodities.

But civil society organisations engaged in a campaign against high cost of living said the decision to abandon taxes on food imports did not bring any relief to ordinary people, after the government raised in July the consumption tax on beer and soft drinks to plug a $64 million revenue deficit on the 2012 budget.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that inflation would fall to 14.7 percent by the end of this year and should ease to 8.4 percent at the close of 2013.

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