BLANTYRE - Malawi's government sees the budget deficit for the fiscal year that starts in April at 1.01 trillion kwacha ($998 million), or 8.8% of GDP, up from 8% in the fiscal year that ends this month, Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe said on Thursday.

Gwengwe said in a budget speech to parliament that the higher deficit was partly driven by spending on civil servants' salaries.

Economic growth is expected to reach 2.7% in 2023, up from a forecast of 2.6% given at a mid-term budget review in November, before rising to 3.4% in 2024, the minister said, adding increases in agricultural output and a stabilisation of the energy and mining sectors would underpin growth.

($1 = 1,012.1100 kwacha)

(Reporting by Frank Phiri; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Alexander Winning)