BUJUMBURA, Burundi, June, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Mr. Oral Williams, visited Bujumbura from June 10–21, 2013 to conduct the third review of the government’s economic and financial program supported by the IMF under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The mission met with His Excellency President Pierre Nkurunziza, Second-Vice President Gervais Rufyikiri, Senate President Gabriel Ntsizerana, Minister of Finance Tabu Manirakiza; Central Bank Governor Jean Ciza and other high-level government officials. The mission had constructive discussions with members of the donor community, parliamentarians, the private sector and civil society.
At the end of the mission, Mr. Williams issued the following statement:
“Burundi’s economy experienced a soft landing after a series of negative shocks that adversely affected economic activity. Headline inflation, after peaking at 25 percent in March 2012, has now declined to single digits (8.2 percent in May 2013). A declining budget support and revenue shortfalls limited the government’s ability to maintain public spending levels. Still, economic growth could reach 4.5 percent in 2013, given good harvests and infrastructure projects. While uncertainties in the external environment remain, owing to weaker growth in trading partners, lower oil and food prices are likely to improve the outlook for inflation.
“Implementation under the program has been challenging. Revenue slippages would require the adoption of urgent corrective measures to keep the program on track. The mission discussed compensatory measures that would be included in a revised budget and submitted to parliament, while preserving pro-poor spending. The mission encouraged the authorities to strengthen the fiscal position by accelerating revenue mobilization efforts, reprioritizing expenditures, and bolstering public financial and debt management. It also underscored the importance of expediting the implementation of structural reforms.
“The mission reached understandings with the authorities to address these challenges with the aim of allowing the IMF’s Executive Board to consider the third review of the ECF. The mission would like to thank the authorities for their warm hospitality and constructive cooperation.”
International Monetary Fund (IMF)