RABAT, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Morocco's spending on cooking gas and sugar subsidies reached an equivalent of nearly 700 million U.S. dollars in the first half of 2017, according to official statistics.
The spending was up 45 percent from the first half of 2016 when the bill was 481 million dollars, data from government's subsidy fund Caisse de Compensation show.
During the first half of 2017, spending on cooking gas increased 70 percent year-on-year from 310 million dollars to 525 million dollars, while spending on sugar subsidies slightly increased from 171 million dollars to 172 million dollars.
The increase was mainly due to a rise both in gas imports and domestic consumption.
In 2013, Morocco started cutting subsidies in what is believed to be one of the most successful subsidy reforms in the Middle East and North Africa.
By the end of 2016, the government eliminated subsidies on gasoline, diesel and industrial fuel and reduced its budget deficit to 3.5 percent of GDP from 5.6 percent in 2011.