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IMF Concludes Article IV Mission to Cameroon

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Africa Business

YAOUNDE, Cameroon, May 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Mr. Mario de Zamaróczy, visited Cameroon during April 29–May 14, 2013 to conduct the 2013 Article IV Consultation. The mission met with Prime Minister Philémon Yang, Minister Secretary General at the Presidency Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, Minister of Finance Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of Economy, Planning, and Territorial Development Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi, several other ministers, the Vice Governor and the National Director of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), other senior officials, and representatives of the private sector, labor unions, civil society organizations, and development partners. The discussions focused on recent economic and financial developments, the 2013 budget, and the economic outlook for 2013 and beyond. At the end of the mission, Mr. de Zamaróczy issued the following statement:

“Recent macroeconomic developments were broadly in line with the projections made at the time of the previous mission in fall 2012. Growth reached 4.4 percent in 2012 (from 4.1 percent in 2011), thanks to a rebound in oil production. Inflation has been moderate, with a 2.4 percent consumer price increase in 2012. Credit to the economy remained subdued and rose by about 2.6 percent.

“Looking ahead, gross domestic product (GDP) growth is projected to accelerate to about 4.8 percent in 2013 and to rise to 5.5 percent a year in the medium term, fuelled by an expected rise in oil production and projected increases in public investment in infrastructure. However, growth would need to be sustained at a higher level for Cameroon to reach its objective of becoming an upper-middle income country by 2035.

“The discussions between the authorities and the mission focused on efforts to spur reforms and set Cameroon on a higher growth path, while mitigating risks to macroeconomic and financial sector stability. The mission recommended closely monitoring public investment in infrastructure to improve its effectiveness and governance. At the same time, the business climate needs to be improved to promote private sector involvement. The mission was encouraged by steps taken to set up the National Public Debt Committee to oversee the financing strategy of public investment plans.

“The mission recommended better allocation of public spending to help close the financing gap in 2013, and improved public finance management to preserve medium-term sustainability and rebuild fiscal space.

“The mission expressed its concern regarding fuel price subsidies. The mission believes that those subsidies are excessively costly and hard to justify, given that only a small share of these subsidies actually benefits the poor. Consequently, the mission encouraged the authorities to phase out these subsidies and replace them with better-targeted social transfer programs.

“The Cameroonian financial sector is saddled with some smaller-size banks that require prompt resolution. The mission encouraged the authorities to move swiftly in cooperation with the regional supervisor, the Commission Bancaire d’Afrique Centrale (COBAC), to protect depositors while minimizing the fiscal cost. The mission encouraged the authorities to accelerate reforms to improve the lending climate. The mission was heartened by the creation of a credit assessment database that will be available in June.

“The IMF’s Executive Board is expected to examine the report on the 2013 Article IV Consultation with Cameroon in June 2013. The mission would like to thank the authorities for their warm hospitality, excellent cooperation, and constructive dialogue.”

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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IMF Executive Board Concludes 2013 Article IV Consultation with Seychelles

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Africa Business

VICTORIA, Mahé, May 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ On May 8, 2013, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Seychelles. 1

Background

In the few years since the 2008 debt crisis, Seychelles has made remarkable strides, quickly restoring macroeconomic stability and creating room for private-sector activity. Macroeconomic developments in the tourism-based island economy have been favorable, despite the challenging global environment. Notably, growth held up as the tourism industry successfully attracted arrivals from non-traditional markets as European arrivals slumped, while a surge in foreign direct investment (FDI) supported construction in recent years. For the most part, inflation remained contained, and the external position improved markedly following liberalization of the exchange rate in 2008 and debt restructuring started in 2009.

In 2012, despite robust tourist arrivals, growth moderated to 2.9 percent as large investment projects were completed. Inflation spiked in July 2012 to 8.9 percent fueled by global as well as domestic developments, but has since abated as a result of successful monetary tightening. The external position continued to improve, albeit modestly. In particular, the current account deficit declined slightly, but remained high at around 22 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), but was fully financed by FDI and external borrowing, leading to a modest rise in reserves. Debt restructuring is nearly complete, with only one loan agreement awaiting signature.

Fiscal policy in 2012 continued to support debt sustainability. The primary surplus is projected to have risen to 6.2 percent of GDP, in part due to sizable windfall revenues which were partly saved. Buoyant revenue and grants paved the way for needed capital expenditure. Notwithstanding, public debt increased by over 3 percentage points of GDP due mostly to currency depreciation and the government assuming liabilities of Air Seychelles.

Monetary policy was tightened sharply in 2012 in response to rising inflation and an unhinging of the exchange rate, and has since been relaxed. Starting in late-2011, rising global food and fuel prices coupled with adjustments in administered prices pushed prices higher. This was reinforced by current account pressures resulting from lower exports of transportation services in the wake of the restructuring of Air Seychelles. The looming inflation-depreciation spiral was broken in mid-2012 by two small foreign exchange market interventions by the Central Bank of Seychelles and a tightening of monetary policy. By end-2012, inflation had fallen to 5.8 percent and the exchange rate had strengthened beyond its end-2011 level.

Broad-based structural reform over the past five years has worked to improve financial performance of the public sector and increase private sector participation in economic activity. Statistical capacity continues to be strengthened. Seychelles subscribes to the IMF’s General Data Dissemination Standard (GDDS) and is making progress at compiling higher frequency economic data which will support strengthened macroeconomic oversight and analysis.

Executive Board Assessment

Executive Directors commended the authorities for their strong policy implementation. Macroeconomic stability has been restored and growth has remained resilient. While the outlook is favorable, the economy is vulnerable to an uncertain global environment and domestic risks. Directors called for continued commitment to sound policies and structural reforms to preserve macroeconomic and financial stability, build policy buffers, and foster strong and inclusive growth.

Directors welcomed the steps to improve financial discipline at the central government level and the recent introduction of the VAT. They agreed that strengthening the oversight and financial position of parastatals, including through adequate price mechanisms, and further progress in public financial management will be key to ensuring fiscal sustainability. For the medium term, Directors supported the authorities’ fiscal policy stance which aims at targeting a primary fiscal surplus and reducing public debt to 50 percent of GDP. They welcomed that the debt restructuring is nearly complete and encouraged the authorities to exercise caution when contracting new external debt.

Directors called for continued efforts to improve the monetary framework in order to stabilize inflation expectations and policy interest rates. Absorbing excess liquidity over time will be important to strengthen the monetary anchor and monetary transmission mechanism. Directors considered that a further increase in international reserves, as market conditions permit, would provide a stronger buffer against shocks. Directors noted that the financial system is sound and welcomed the steps being taken to improve the functioning of the credit market.

Directors commended the efforts towards improving the business and investment climate, which is key to avoid a potential middle-income trap and to support broad-based growth. They encouraged the authorities to foster private sector-led growth by addressing infrastructure gaps, engendering lower cost and improved access to credit, correcting data weaknesses, and moving ahead with plans for greater workforce education and capacity building.

 

Seychelles: Selected Economic and Financial Indicators, 2010–14

 

2010    2011    2012    2013    2014

Actual    Actual    Est.    Proj.    Proj.

 

(Percentage change, unless otherwise indicated)

National income and prices

 

Nominal GDP (millions of Seychelles rupees)

11,746    13,119    14,145    15,292    16,461

Real GDP

5.6    5.0    2.9    3.3    3.9

CPI (annual average)

-2.4    2.6    7.1    4.5    3.4

CPI (end-of-period)

0.4    5.5    5.8    4.3    3.1

GDP deflator average

-3.6    6.4    4.8    4.6    3.6

(Percentage change, unless otherwise indicated)

Money and credit

 

Credit to the economy

21.4    6.2    2.5    13.0    …

Broad money

13.5    4.5    -2.3    0.1    …

Reserve money

34.7    -2.7    6.9    12.3    …

Velocity (GDP/broad money)

1.6    1.7    1.9    2.1    …

Money multiplier (broad money/reserve money)

4.2    4.5    4.1    3.6    …

(Percent of GDP)

Savings-Investment balance

 

External savings

23.0    22.7    21.7    23.2    18.4

Gross national savings

13.6    12.4    17.3    15.1    15.5

Of which: government savings

7.8    10.6    14.3    12.1    11.0

Gross investment

36.6    35.1    39.0    38.2    33.8

Of which: government investment

8.6    8.1    12.0    9.2    7.8


Government budget


Total revenue, excluding grants

34.1    35.8    37.6    36.4    35.6

Expenditure and net lending

32.5    35.7    40.2    38.5    36.0

Current expenditure

27.2    27.6    28.8    28.8    27.3

Capital expenditure and net lending

5.3    8.1    11.4    9.8    8.7

Overall balance, including grants

2.5    2.5    2.4    1.8    2.0

Primary balance

8.6    5.4    6.2    5.1    4.4

Total public debt

81.6    74.3    77.3    72.0    65.3

Domestic1

32.5    28.0    27.7    25.7    18.6

External

49.1    46.2    49.6    46.3    46.7

(Percent of GDP, unless otherwise indicated)

External sector

 

Current account balance including official transfers

-23.0    -22.7    -21.7    -23.2    -18.4

Total stock of arrears (millions of U.S. dollars)

30.3    9.0    2.7    …    …

Total public external debt outstanding (millions of U.S. dollars)

478    490    512    558    597

(percent of GDP)

49.1    46.2    49.6    46.3    46.7

Terms of trade (= – deterioration)

-6.7    -6.4    -0.4    0.6    1.2

Real effective exchange rate (average, percent change)

4.4    -7.4    …    …    …

Gross official reserves (end of year, millions of U.S. dollars)

254    277    305    317    326

Months of imports, c.i.f.

2.3    2.5    2.6    2.7    2.7

Exchange rate


Seychelles rupees per US$1 (end-of-period)

12.1    13.7    13.0    …    …

Seychelles rupees per US$1 (period average)

12.1    12.4    13.7    …    …

 

Sources: Central Bank of Seychelles; Ministry of Finance; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

1 Excludes debt issued in 2012 for monetary purposes (5.4 percent of GDP), as proceeds are kept in a blocked account with the Central Bank.

1 Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country’s authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summings up can be found here: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/misc/qualifiers.htm

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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IMF Mission Concludes the 2013 Article IV Mission to the Republic of Congo

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of the Congo, May 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Mr. Mbuyamu Matungulu visited Brazzaville during April 29–May 13, 2013, to conduct discussions for the 2013 Article IV consultations. The mission met with the Honorable Obami Itou, President of the Senate; the Honorable Koumba, Speaker of Parliament; State and Finance Minister Ondongo, Special Presidential Advisor Gokana, National Director of the BEAC Ondaye Ebauh, and other senior officials. It held discussions with development partners and representatives of the private sector, including members of the banking profession.

At the end of the mission, Mr. Matungulu issued the following statement:

“In 2012, real GDP growth rebounded to about 4 percent despite a marked decline in oil production. Activity in the non-oil sectors was robust, driven by a surge in public spending in response to the ammunitions depot explosion of March 2012. The brisk increase in spending put pressures on prices, bringing end-year inflation to 7.5 percent as domestic supply response was limited. Reflecting the high import content of increased government outlays, the external current account turned negative in 2012. Credit growth remained robust. The basic non-oil primary budget deficit increased considerably, stemming from the expansion of government spending. However, the deficit was smaller than projected, with domestically-funded investment outlays somewhat lower than anticipated.

“Real GDP growth is expected to strengthen to 5.8 percent in 2013 despite a further decline of oil production, underpinned by continuing strong activity in construction and public works, telecommunications, as well as a timid start of iron ore production. Inflation eased to a monthly average of -0.1 percent in January-February 2013, and is projected to remain subdued during the remainder of the year as pressures from the 2012 ammunitions explosions fallout gradually recede. While the current account is expected to improve, the country remains vulnerable to adverse changes in external conditions, particularly on terms of trade. Compared to the initial budget, the mission’s current fiscal projections for 2013 reflect a shortfall in oil revenue equivalent to 4.8 percent of non-oil GDP, a reduction in government spending, as well as much higher-than-anticipated payments on arrears to social sectors. While the basic non-oil primary budget deficit should be contained below the projected level, the build-up of government deposits with the central bank would likely be much lower than targeted under the 2013 budget. The mission urged stronger treasury management and discussed quarterly fiscal targets for the remainder of the year to minimize slippages.

“The authorities’ medium-term development agenda seeks to foster private sector development, facilitate economic diversification, and secure growth inclusiveness. It appropriately emphasizes preservation of macroeconomic stability, improvements in governance and transparency and in business conditions, as well as a scaling up of investment to begin closing large infrastructure and skills gaps, while seeking further gains in budget consolidation. The mission encouraged the authorities to expedite reforms to improve the quality of spending; and welcomed World Bank involvement in the efforts to improve the management of the public investment program and enhance the productivity of the development budget. It underscored accelerated implementation of World Bank-supported reforms to improve the business environment, including in financial sector; and to roll out envisaged social protection systems. Regarding the management of oil resources, the mission reiterated calls for early adoption by Parliament of the draft law on budget transparency and accountability, following the achievement last February of compliant status under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). As Congo moves ahead with the establishment of Special Economic Zones, the staff team urged caution. In particular, the mission encouraged the authorities to refrain from extending special fiscal incentives, and to focus instead on revamping infrastructure, including the inadequate electricity network, and advancing administrative facilitation. The staff team favored implementation of economy-wide reforms that improve the business environment for all so as to prevent abuses. It confirmed Congo’s low risk of debt distress but noted the need for continuing prudent borrowing policies to maintain long-term debt sustainability in the post-HIPC era.

“The mission discussed a medium- and long-term fiscal framework aimed at protecting spending from oil revenue volatility and ensuring budget and debt sustainability while supporting growth and guarding against the risks in the face of declining oil reserves. The framework makes provisions for scaled up investment and a buildup of net wealth that would sustain expenditures when oil resources are depleted. Under the agreed framework, nearly 65 percent of projected total oil revenue for 2013–2019 would be spent (two thirds of which on capital goods), and 35 percent saved; and the basic non-oil primary budget deficit would be limited to 36.1 percent of non-oil GDP by 2015.

“The authorities concurred with the need to improve coordination of economic policy management through development of appropriate reform-monitoring mechanisms. In this context, staff welcomed the government’s support to the ongoing review of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC)’s reserves pooling framework. Finally, the mission reminded the authorities of Congo’s legal obligations under Article VIII, Section 5, including the obligation to provide data to Fund staff on official holdings of foreign exchange.

“The mission wishes to express gratitude to the authorities for their hospitality. Upon its return to Washington D.C., the team will prepare a staff report to be discussed by the IMF’s Executive Board.”

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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IMF SAYS GAMBIA’S VAT IS KILLING THE ECONOMY, BUSINESSES

Posted on 13 May 2013 by Amat JENG

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Gambia’s newly introduced Tax collection system — the Value Added Tax (VAT)- is killing the country’s ailing economy and businesses. “The outlook for the economy is generally favorable for 2013, but there are risks. Real GDP growth is expected to accelerate, if the recovery in crop production is sustained.

Also, by accessing new markets, the potential for growth in tourism looks good. Inflation, however, has picked up, partly due to side effects from the introduction of the value-added tax (VAT) at the beginning of the year. For example, although the VAT is applied to firms with a turnover of at least one million dalasis, we understand that many smaller businesses also raised their prices opportunistically. During the first quarter of 2013, government spending once again exceeded planned allocations, contributing to an uptick in Treasury-bill yields. Correspondingly high bank lending rates are discouraging private sector borrowing,” a report issued by an IMF delegation who just concluded discussions with the Gambian authorities on the first review of the ECF arrangement.

The IMF delegation led by David Dunn is also not impressed by Gambia’s recent economic performance. Inflation is on the rise while government spending is jumping the roof.

“The Gambian economy is still recovering from the severe drought of 2011. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an estimated 4 percent in 2012, led by a partial rebound in crop production and strength in the tourism sector. Inflation remained under control, ending the year at just under 5 percent, despite the depreciation of the Gambian dalasi during the second half of the year. A substantial overrun in government spending late in the year resulted in higher-than-budgeted domestic borrowing (3½ percent of GDP),” Mr. Dunn said.

Mr. Amadou Colley, Governor of Gambia’s Central Bank earlier this week tried to mislead the press and the nation by depicting a wrong picture of the economy. Colley failed to share the IMF team’s fact finding mission’s report. He instead furnished the press with a different picture of the realities on the ground. His sources are questionable—given the fact that this administration’s reputation of trying to monopolize the truth is evident on their modus operandi.

CBG's governor Amadou Kolley

“The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS), the Gambia economy is estimated to have grown by 6.3 percent in 2012 following a contraction of 4.6 percent in 2011; agriculture valued-added increased by 7.5 percent, industry (6.6 percent) and services (5.8 percent). Money supply grew by 8.8 percent in the year to end-March 2013, lower than the 14.9 percent in 2012. Both narrow money and quasi money grew by 16.3 percent and 2.7 percent compared to 7.8 percent and 9.3 percent respectively a year earlier,” Mr. Colley claimed.

“While reserve money grew by 3.4 percent, lower than the 8.7 percent in March 2012 and the target of 4.8 percent, he said the provisional data on government fiscal operations in the first quarter of 2013 indicate that revenue and grants amounted to D1.5 billion (4.6 percent of GDP) compared to D1.9 billion (5.9 percent of GDP) in the same period in 2012. “Domestic revenue totaled D1.4 billion (4.2 percent of GDP), higher than the D1.2 billion (3.7 percent of GDP) recorded in the corresponding period of 2012.”

Mr. Colley admitted that Gambia’s inflation is going out of hand. As such, Colley said, prices for basic commodities, utilities, and energy are going up.

“While consumer food inflation rose from 4.8 percent in March 2012 to 6.4 percent in March 2013 driven mainly by price developments in bread cereals, the consumer non-food inflation also rose to 4.1 percent in March 2013 from 2.7 percent in March 2012 partly reflecting the increase in the cost of energy. Core inflation, which includes the prices to utilities, energy and volatile food items, increased to 5.3 percent from 4.0 percent a year earlier,” Mr. Colley told the local press here.

But IMF’S David Dunn is not optimistic about the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The country’s past crop failure is impacting negatively on the economy. He said VAT is killing the private sector. Businesses are being overtaxed.

IMF’S David Dunn

“The outlook for the economy is generally favorable for 2013, but there are risks. Real GDP growth is expected to accelerate, if the recovery in crop production is sustained. Also, by accessing new markets, the potential for growth in tourism looks good. Inflation, however, has picked up, partly due to side effects from the introduction of the value-added tax (VAT) at the beginning of the year. For example, although the VAT is applied to firms with a turnover of at least one million dalasis, we understand that many smaller businesses also raised their prices opportunistically. During the first quarter of 2013, government spending once again exceeded planned allocations, contributing to an uptick in Treasury-bill yields,” Mr. Dunn stated.

While Central Bank Governor Amadou Colley is bragging about the so called performance of the banking sector, Mr. Dunn had a complete different view about Gambia’s banking industry.

“Correspondingly high bank lending rates are discouraging private sector borrowing,” Dunn said.

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IMF Executive Board Concludes 2012 Article IV Consultation with Cape Verde

Posted on 24 April 2013 by Africa Business

PRAIA, Cape Verde, April 24, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ On March 8, 2013, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Cape Verde.1

Background

After recovering in 2010, Cape Verde’s growth slowed in 2011 and 2012, reflecting the difficult external environment and weak domestic demand. Growth is estimated at 4.3 percent in 2012, with foreign direct investment (FDI) having fallen significantly and confidence indicators across several sectors waning. However, tourism has remained resilient and remittances have held up well. The overall balance of payments is expected to move into surplus in 2012, aided by a significant narrowing of the current account deficit owing to strong tourism receipts and weaker imports. Accordingly, reserves are estimated to have stabilized at an estimated 3.8 months of current year imports (staff estimate 3.3 months of prospective imports). This outturn was aided by an adjustment of fiscal policy in 2012, particularly capital spending, in support of the monetary policy tightening that began in late 2011. Average inflation was well contained in 2012 at 2½ percent. Fiscal deficits have increased over recent years as the authorities have ramped up public investment on infrastructure, partly as a countercyclical policy response to the global crisis. Debt service indicators remain sustainable, although public debt levels have continued to increase, reaching elevated levels.

Cape Verde is likely to face a more difficult external environment in 2013, especially with near zero growth forecast in the euro area. Growth is expected to slow to 4.1 percent. Competition in tourism is intensifying as North African markets recover. The growth of private remittances is slowing, driven by economic stagnation in euro area countries. The prospects for higher private capital flows, including FDI, are dimmed by weaknesses in Europe. Likewise, concessional assistance flows are also under stress with the fiscal adjustment underway in Europe.

On the structural front, government’s reforms focus on rebuilding the tax administration and reforming tax policy, improving oversight over the financial system, strengthening monetary operations, and enhancing the governance of state owned enterprises to reduce fiscal risks and improve their service delivery to help boost competitiveness of the economy.

Executive Board Assessment

Executive Directors commended the authorities’ strong track record of prudent macroeconomic management, which has increased the economy’s resilience to shocks, supported economic growth, and advanced progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. They stressed that the difficult external outlook and fiscal and external vulnerabilities call for continued efforts to strengthen macroeconomic buffers, and to foster inclusive growth while preserving external sustainability.

Directors commended the authorities’ efforts to upgrade the infrastructure, using concessional assistance, but noted that the rising public debt could pose risks to debt sustainability. They therefore welcomed the authorities’ intention to undertake medium-term fiscal consolidation beginning in 2013, and advised that it be implemented in a growth-friendly manner. Directors looked forward to the planned reform of tax policy and tax administration to reverse the recent decline in tax revenue relative to GDP. They encouraged restraint on capital spending and more focus on improving the quality of public investment. They also pressed for rationalization of current spending and reforms to improve the operational efficiency and financial position of loss-making state-owned enterprises.

Directors agreed that the current tight monetary stance is appropriate, given the need to further increase reserves to a more comfortable level. They encouraged measures to strengthen the monetary transmission mechanism, including more active liquidity management, better liquidity forecasting, and reforms to increase the efficiency of the interbank market and develop the government securities market.

Directors noted staff’s assessment that the real effective exchange rate is broadly aligned with economic fundamentals. While higher reserve coverage would support the peg, Directors also called for steadfast pursuit of structural reforms to improve the business environment and boost productivity and competiveness. They welcomed in this regard the Third Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, which provides a sound basis for higher and more inclusive growth.

Directors welcomed the recent measures taken to safeguard financial stability, including the drafting of new banking legislation, improvements to the regulatory and supervisory framework, and the establishment of a Financial Stability Committee. In light of rising non-performing loan ratios, they encouraged the authorities to continue to strengthen supervisory capacity and to accelerate implementation of the FSAP recommendations.

 

Cape Verde: Selected Economic and Financial Indicators, 2011–16

 

2011    2012    2013    2014    2015    2016

 

Est.    Projections

 

National accounts and prices


Real GDP

5.0    4.3    4.1    4.5    4.7    5.0

Real GDP per capita

3.6    2.9    2.7    3.1    3.3    3.6

GDP deflator

3.9    3.5    3.5    3.1    3.1    3.0

Consumer price index (annual average)

4.5    2.5    4.0    3.3    2.8    2.5

Consumer price index (end of period)

3.6    4.1    3.5    3.1    2.5    2.5

External sector


Exports of goods and services

17.3    10.7    9.0    7.6    7.9    7.3

Of which: tourism

26.5    10.6    6.5    9.2    9.1    9.0

Imports of goods and services

17.9    0.1    10.4    0.5    0.1    2.3

Money and credit 1


Net foreign assets

-4.2    0.9    1.4    0.3    2.1    1.1

Net domestic assets

6.5    3.8    5.1    5.5    5.3    6.1

Net claims on the central government

3.0    1.2    0.8    0.5    0.2    0.2

Credit to the economy

6.3    1.7    4.3    5.8    5.8    6.9

Broad money (M2)

2.2    4.6    6.5    5.8    7.5    7.1

Reserve money (M0)

-1.3    4.3    1.6    1.4    1.8    1.7

Savings and investment


Domestic savings

20.5    21.8    21.9    23.2    24.6    25.9

Government

2.8    0.1    2.3    -3.1    -2.2    1.4

Private

17.7    21.7    19.6    26.3    26.8    24.5

National investment

36.5    32.9    35.2    34.5    33.0    32.0

Government

9.9    7.6    9.9    8.4    5.8    4.0

Private

26.6    25.3    25.3    26.1    27.2    28.0

Savings-investment balance

-16.0    -11.1    -13.2    -11.4    -8.3    -6.1

Government

-7.1    -7.5    -7.5    -11.5    -8.0    -2.5

Private

-8.9    -3.6    -5.7    0.2    -0.3    -3.5

External sector


External current account (excluding official transfers)

-19.6    -13.5    -15.2    -11.4    -8.3    -6.1

External current account (including official transfers)

-16.0    -11.1    -13.2    -11.4    -8.3    -6.1

Overall balance of payments

-2.3    1.5    1.1    0.3    1.9    1.3

Gross international reserves (months of prospective imports of goods and services)

3.2    3.3    3.3    3.4    3.6    3.8

Gross international reserves (months of current year imports of goods and services)

3.2    3.8    3.3    3.4    3.7    3.9

Government finance


Revenue

25.0    21.8    24.9    25.6    25.5    24.3

Tax and nontax revenue

22.2    19.4    22.1    21.9    22.4    22.4

Grants

2.8    2.4    2.8    3.6    3.1    1.9

Expenditure

32.3    29.3    32.5    31.5    27.6    24.1

Overall balance (excl. grants)

-10.1    -9.9    -10.4    -9.6    -5.2    -1.7

Overall balance (incl. grants)

-7.3    -7.5    -7.6    -5.8    -2.2    0.2

External financing

9.4    9.1    11.8    8.2    5.3    1.0

Domestic financing (incl. onlending)

-0.7    -1.6    -4.2    -2.4    -3.1    -1.2

Errors and omissions

-1.4    0.0    0.0    0.0    0.0    0.0

Public debt stock and service


Total nominal government debt

77.3    81.0    88.6    92.2    92.1    85.6

External government debt

56.1    59.8    67.4    71.4    72.0    68.2

Domestic government debt

21.2    21.2    21.2    20.8    20.0    17.4

External debt service (percent of exports of goods and services)

4.2    4.6    4.6    4.8    4.6    4.3

Memorandum items:


Nominal GDP (billions of Cape Verde escudos)

150.8    162.8    175.4    189.1    204.2    220.8

Gross international reserves (€ millions, end of period)

263.3    300.0    302.7    308.3    342.6    369.5

 

Sources: Cape Verdean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

1 Adjusted for data inconsistency in December 2011.

1 Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country’s authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summings up can be found here: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/misc/qualifiers.htm.

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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IMF Concludes Article IV Consultation Mission to Ghana

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Africa Business

ACCRA, Ghana, April 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Christina Daseking, visited Accra during April 2-12, 2013, to conduct discussions for the 2013 Article IV consultations. The mission met with President Mahama, Vice-President Amissah-Arthur, Finance Minister Terkper, Bank of Ghana Governor Wampah, other senior officials, members of parliament, and representatives of the private sector, think tanks, trade unions, and civil society.

At the end of the mission, Ms. Daseking issued the following statement:

“Economic growth continued at a robust pace of 8 percent in 2012 amid rising fiscal and external imbalances. A growing public sector wage bill, costly energy subsidies, and higher interest cost, pushed the fiscal deficit to about 12 percent of GDP. The external current account deficit also widened to 12 percent of GDP, while unadjusted fuel and energy prices and a tightening of monetary policy helped keep inflation in single digits.

“The growth momentum has continued into 2013, with rising inflation pressures. While activity in the non-oil sector is dampened by energy disruptions and high interest rates, increased oil production should keep overall economic growth close to 8 percent. A weaker outlook for cocoa and gold exports will leave the current account deficit around 12 percent of GDP. The mission projects a reduction in the fiscal deficit to 10 percent of GDP this year, about 1 percent higher than the budget projections, assuming a delayed adjustment in utility tariffs.

“Despite Ghana’s strong economic potential, short-term stability risks have risen. Ghana’s strong democratic institutions and favorable prospects for oil and gas continue to attract significant foreign direct investment (FDI). Yet, low external buffers and a rising domestic debt ratio expose the economy to risks, such as weaker terms of trade, reduced capital inflows, or unanticipated spending needs. Energy sector problems could curtail growth, while excessive government domestic borrowing is raising the cost of credit to the private sector. Both factors have been identified as key growth constraints in Ghana. The mission’s still positive assessment of the economy is contingent on the authorities’ resolve to confront these challenges decisively.

“The mission strongly supports the government’s ambitious transformation agenda, centered on economic diversification, shared growth and job creation, and macroeconomic stability. Rebuilding buffers to safeguard stability is now the immediate priority. This requires lower budget deficits to contain external pressures and keep debt sustainable. In due course, this will also allow for a reduction in interest rates. Going forward, successful economic transformation will require a realignment of spending, away from wages and subsidies toward infrastructure investment.

“A ballooning wage bill, if untamed, will bring debt to levels that could endanger the government’s transformation agenda. The wage bill in 2012 rose by 47 percent, with much of the factors explaining the increase not yet quantified. In addition, deferred wage payments from the single spine salary reform were twice the level included in the supplementary budget. The mission urged the government to gain control over the wage bill. It recommended a thorough audit of the 2012 payroll and welcomes that the government has already started this process.

“The government’s deficit target of 6 percent of GDP by 2015 will keep public debt high and buffers low. The mission recommended an additional fiscal adjustment of 3 percent of GDP by 2015, using a combination of revenue and expenditure measures. This would lessen the public debt burden and raise official reserves toward the authorities’ target of more than 4 months of imports—up from 2.8 months currently. This target is consistent with the mission’s own analysis of optimal reserves, which suggests that a cover of 4.2 months of imports would provide a reasonable cushion against plausible shocks.

“The mission shared the Bank of Ghana’s views on keeping a tight monetary policy stance, for the time being. Both actual inflation and inflation expectations have risen recently, with upside risks from the sharp increase in government borrowing. To strengthen the signaling role of the policy rate within the inflation-targeting framework, the mission recommended narrowing the gap with current market rates. Successful fiscal consolidation will allow an easing of interest rates in due course, provided inflation expectations decline to levels consistent with the achievement of the target.

“On its return to Washington D.C., the team will prepare a staff report that is tentatively scheduled to be discussed by the IMF’s Executive Board in mid-June.”

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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African Tax Administration Forum and IMF Bring Together Top African Revenue Authority Officials at High-Level Governance Seminar to Discuss Improving Revenue Administration

Posted on 13 April 2013 by Africa Business

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, April 12, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ National revenue authority chiefs from across Africa1 are meeting this week in South Africa to discuss ways to improve governance of revenue administration. Chief executives and board chairpersons from 12 African countries are participating in an April 10-12 high-level seminar near Johannesburg, organized by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in collaboration with the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF). This is the first seminar of its kind where board chairpersons and chief executives of African revenue authorities have gathered to discuss current issues relating to board governance. The event was financed by Topical Trust Fund on Tax Policy and Administration, which was established by the IMF in May 2011 to channel funds from other donors into vital technical assistance to help countries improve their tax structures and operations.

“It is a fact that a number of countries in Africa are faced with major challenges in the area of revenue administration. It is my considered view that countries should focus on improving governance or setup an effective governance framework for the revenue authority as a first step. This seminar on governance is a timely intervention and is extremely useful to the countries that have adopted the revenue authority model for revenue administration. Two key benefits of the seminar is the sharing of good practice and also the establishing of a much needed informal communication network for revenue authority boards in Africa. I’m thankful to ATAF and the IMF for this initiative which is a first on the continent,” said Mr. Ambrose Dlamini, Board Chairman of the Swaziland Revenue Authority and CEO of MTN (Swaziland).

Semi-autonomous revenue authorities are now the norm in many Anglophone African countries and interest in this organizational and governance model is growing elsewhere in Africa and beyond. Although variations of the model exist, some common characteristics include separate human resource policies and procedures from regular government departments and strategic oversight by a board typically with a mix of private and public sector representation. This seminar aims to exchange experiences and views on this model by the key strategic leaders in countries that have introduced, or are contemplating, a revenue authority. Other goals of the workshop are as follows:

To provide basic information on legal frameworks and statistics pertaining to revenue authorities and their boards from recent research, as well as data gathered from the Revenue Administration’s – Fiscal Information Tool, an initiative of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department to gather key revenue administration data from member countries to establish a core set of performance indicators for improved cross-country comparisons and benchmarking;

To review current issues in board governance;

To provide a platform for discussion and sharing of country experiences with a view to improving governance of revenue administration in African countries with semi-autonomous revenue authorities;

To identify subject areas where further research would be useful; and

To establish an informal communication network for Revenue Authority boards in Africa.

This seminar may be replicated in future in response to growing interest in establishing Revenue Authorities in Francophone African countries and elsewhere.

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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IMF Concludes Fifth PSI Review Mission to Senegal

Posted on 10 April 2013 by Africa Business

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Hervé Joly visited Senegal during March 27-April 10, 2013 to conduct the fifth review under the three-year Policy Support Instrument (PSI) approved in December 2010. The members of the mission met with the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the ministers of economy and finance, and energy; representatives of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO); other senior government officials; and representatives of the private sector, civil society, and the development partners.

At the conclusion of the visit, M. Joly issued the following statement:

“Recent macroeconomic developments were broadly in line with the projections made in fall 2012. Growth reached 3.5 percent in 2012 (from 2.1 percent in 2011), fueled by strong performance in the agricultural sector. Inflation has been moderate, with a 1.4 percent consumer price increase in 2012. External trade was marked by a deterioration in the current account deficit which exceeded 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012, driven largely by increases in imports of petroleum and food products. Credit to the economy increased by about 10 percent, while growth of the money supply was contained.

“Notwithstanding the sluggish international environment, GDP growth is expected to tick up to 4 percent in 2013. Inflation should remain below 2 percent. The current account deficit is expected to improve.

“Program implementation was satisfactory overall. All quantitative assessment criteria and indicative targets for the program at end-2012 were met, except for the indicative target on single tendering owing to emergency procurement associated with the floods and preparation for the 2012/2013 crop year. For the first time in the last few years, the annual fiscal deficit target was met despite significant revenue shortfalls (deficit of 5.9 percent of GDP). Progress was made with the implementation of structural reforms, notably with the entry into force of the new general tax code on January 1, 2013.

“The discussions between the authorities and the mission focused on efforts to reduce the fiscal deficit, which remains a priority objective for the authorities in order to maintain debt sustainability and rebuild fiscal space. Since the last review, the fiscal outlook has been affected by tax-revenue shortfalls and new spending pressures, largely reflecting the situation in the energy sector. These developments should be matched by additional efforts to increase fiscal revenues and savings on certain expenditures. Overall, however, deficit reduction will be slightly lower than expected in 2013, to allow for nonrecurrent expenditures associated with the security situation in Mali and the Sahel, and the launching of the program in response to the major flooding of 2012. Nevertheless, the authorities reaffirmed their objective to reduce the deficit to less than 4 percent of GDP by 2015.

“The mission expressed its concern regarding the situation in the energy sector. Energy price subsidies (electricity and petroleum products) cost Senegalese taxpayers more than CFAF 160 billion in 2012 and would remain high in 2013. The mission believes that this burden is difficult to bear for public finances and to justify, given that only a small share of these subsidies benefit the poor. Consequently, the mission encouraged the authorities to phase out these subsidies and replace them with better-targeted social protections. A long-term reduction in electricity subsidies will require bringing online power stations that use more efficient and less expensive technologies, as well as substantial efficiency improvements at SENELEC. Accordingly, the mission encouraged the authorities to accelerate the implementation of their energy sector reform strategy.

The IMF’s Executive Board is expected to take up the fifth program review in June 2013.”

Source: IMF

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IMF Executive Board Completes Second Review Under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement for Malawi and Approves US$19.6 Million Disbursement

Posted on 08 April 2013 by Africa Business

 

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the second review of Malawi’s economic performance under a program supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. The Board’s decision enables the immediate disbursement of an amount equivalent to SDR 13.02 million (about US$19.6 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to an amount equivalent to SDR39.06 million (about US$58.7 million).

The three-year ECF arrangement for Malawi in the total amount of SDR 104.1 million (about US$156.2 million) was approved on July 23, 2012.

Following the Board’s discussion, Mr. David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, issued the following statement:

“Malawi’s performance under the Fund-supported program has been commendable despite a difficult environment. The policy reforms have begun to yield positive results, including increased availability of foreign exchange. The government also successfully rolled out its social protection programs.

“Continued tight monetary policy and fiscal restraint are needed to contain aggregate demand, stabilize the exchange rate and prices, and boost international reserves. The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) is committed to maintaining a tight monetary stance until inflation pressures recede. The fiscal authorities are also committed to implementing prudent policies in the run up to the 2014 general elections. In particular, the FY2013/14 budget will include measures to offset the impact of recent wage increases on the budget. The authorities are also pursuing reforms to broaden the tax base, improve revenue administration, and exercise greater control over expenditures.

“It will be important to safeguard the stability of the financial system. The RBM is strengthening its oversight of banks and is assessing the true financial condition of all banks with a view to enforcing prudential regulations. It has also enhanced its monitoring of banks that have continued to have difficulty meeting liquidity requirements.

“The authorities are making progress in implementing structural reforms to enhance the country’s competitiveness and exports. They are committed to removing regulatory hurdles to doing business in Malawi.”

Source: IMF

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IMF Executive Board Completes First Review Under ECF Arrangement for Niger and Approves US$16.9 Million Disbursement

Posted on 29 March 2013 by Africa Business

NIAMEY, Niger, March 29, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the first

review of Niger’s economic performance under the program supported by a three-year, SDR 78.96 million (about US$118.3 million) Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement approved by the IMF’s Executive Board on March 16, 2012 (see Press Release No. 12/90). The decision enables an immediate disbursement of an amount equivalent to SDR 11.28 million (about US$16.9 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to an amount equivalent to SDR 22.56 million (US$33.8 million).

In completing the review, the Executive Board approved the request for a waiver for nonobservance of the performance criterion on new non-concessional external debt with maturities of one year or more. The Executive Board’s decision on the first review was taken on a lapse of time basis.1

Economic activity was buoyant in 2012, with economic growth estimated at over 11 percent, thanks to the coming onstream of a new oil project and a rebound in agricultural production. Average inflation is estimated to have remained slightly below 1 percent, as upward pressures on food prices caused by food shortages in the first part of the year were largely offset by lower energy prices. Credit to the private sector expanded significantly, driven by high credit demand from public enterprises and trading firms. The current account deficit is projected to decline, reflecting the coming onstream of petroleum production resulting in net exports of petroleum products.

Fiscal revenues in 2012 increased relative to 2011, but are likely to fall short of program targets for 2012 due to weaknesses in customs and oil revenue. All end-June quantitative performance criteria were met, but at the expense of expenditure constraint. Several end-September fiscal targets were missed as spending increased in order to bring poverty-reducing spending back in line with program targets and due to an increase in military spending following the deterioration in the regional security situation. Additional measures were taken to limit spending during the remaining months of 2012. The continuous performance criterion on non-concessional borrowing was breached because of the contracting of a non-concessional loan with the Republic of Congo, but a waiver was granted by the Executive Board, as the loan was cancelled before disbursing. The majority of the structural reforms under the program were implemented, albeit with delays, and a plan to stem the losses at the oil refinery has been developed for implementation in 2013.

Medium-term prospects remain positive, thanks to ongoing investment in the natural resource sector, with growth projected at 6¼ percent in 2013 and inflation projected to remain moderate. However, risks remain tilted to the downside given the fragile security situation in the region; the frequent climatic shocks, as evidenced by the August 2012 floods; the uncertainty regarding commodity prices; and potential delays in the implementation of natural resource sector projects.

The ECF-supported program for 2013 builds on the government’s medium-term strategy set out in the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies of March 2, 2012. It also takes into account the authorities’ newly adopted ambitious poverty reducing strategy paper, the Plan for Economic and Social Development. A key goal of the 2013 program is to tackle the revenue weaknesses by advancing the plan to strengthen the financial position of the oil refinery and the implementation of measures already taken to strengthen customs. Other elements of the program include (i) creating fiscal space for development spending while maintaining debt sustainability; (ii) rebuilding the government deposits at the central bank; (iii) implementing structural reforms to strengthen budget execution, treasury management, and domestic revenue collection; (iv) enhancing the oversight of the natural resource sector; and (v) continuing ongoing reforms aimed at financial development and improving the business environment.

1 The Executive Board takes decisions under its lapse of time procedure when it is agreed by the Board that a proposal can be considered without convening formal discussions.

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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