Tunis, April 15 (Reuters) - Tunisia's Islamist-led government said on Monday it plans to cut the budget deficit for this year to 5.1 percent of gross domestic product compared with the previous target of 5.9 percent.
'The council of Ministers approved the adoption of the option that says that the budget deficit will be 5.1 percent in updating the state budget,' the government said in a statement sent to Reuters by e-mail without giving more details.
Last December the government said it expected the deficit to be 5.9 percent this year, down from 6.6 percent in 2012.
The government, led by the Islamic Ennahda Party, expects the economy to grow 4.5 percent this year against 3.6 percent last year.
Tunisia plunged into political crisis on Feb. 6 when the assassination of secular opposition politician Chokri Belaid ignited the biggest street protests since the overthrow of strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two years ago.
An uprising in January 2011 forced Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to leave Tunisia after 23 years in power, sparking the 'Arab Spring' revolts that have swept the Middle East.
The IMF and the Tunisian government have reached agreement on a $1.78 billion precautionary loan which will be announced on Tuesday, a senior government official told Reuters earlier on Monday.
Tunisian inflation jumped to 6.5 percent in March, the highest rate in at least five years, reflecting high food prices, and the economy is struggling due to the slowdown in the euro zone, the main market for Tunisia's exports and the source of most of its tourists.
(Reporting by Tarek Amara; editing by Patrick Graham) Keywords: TUNISIA DEFICIT
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