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REUTERS: Georgia Targets 3 pct Economic Growth in 2016-Budget Draft

The Georgian government targets 3 percent economic growth in 2016, up from 2 percent expected this year, the country’s prime minister said on Wednesday.

Irakly Garibashvili said at a government meeting that the draft budget for next year projected annual inflation at 4.5 percent, down from 5-6 percent expected this year.

The draft, which was approved by the government on Wednesday and was due to be submitted to the parliament, set the budget deficit at 3 percent, the same as in 2015.

Georgia’s economic growth slowed to 2.6 percent in the first half of this year compared with 6 percent in the same period last year.

Gross domestic product grew 4.7 percent last year, missing the government’s initial forecast of 6 percent.

Republic’s economy is suffering the side-effects of a fall in the Russian rouble. Georgia has also suffered a decline in exports and remittances and the government deficit is rising.

The Georgian parliament confirmed the government’s decision to halve the country’s growth forecast for this year to 2.0 percent from 5 percent earlier this year, and decided to reduce budget spending by 160 million lari ($66 million), pointing to serious problems in the economy.