Sub-Saharan Africa is struggling to navigate an unprecedented health and economic crisis—one that, in just a few months, has jeopardized decades of hard-won development gains and upended the lives and livelihoods of millions.
This paper proposes that the Executive Board approve the disbursement of a second 6-month tranche of CCRT debt service relief to 28 of the 29 members, covering the period October 14, 2020 through April 13, 2021, given staff’s assessment that sufficient financial resources are available.2 In this context, the paper also provides brief updates for each beneficiary country on its policy responses to the pandemic and staff’s assessment of these policies and the use of resources freed up by debt service relief. It also provides an update on the finances of the CCRT and the fundraising efforts to secure adequate resources for grant assistance in the future. Based on grant pledges to date, resources are not sufficient to extend CCRT relief beyond the proposed second sixth-month period.
This paper presents Union of the Comoros’ Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility and Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument. The Comoros’ authorities should use fiscal policy to cushion the adverse effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 shock and bring the fiscal position back in line with medium-term paths once the crisis has passed. In addition to expanding very substantially healthcare spending to meet the population’s pandemic-related needs, the authorities should consider giving targeted and temporary support to the most vulnerable. Monetary policy should focus on maintaining the exchange rate peg. At the same time, the authorities should use all tools at their disposal to safeguard the stability of the banking system, including by providing liquidity to banks facing liquidity pressures and addressing loan servicing difficulties. Beyond implementing their pandemic preparedness plan and strengthening the health care system’s ability to respond to pandemic needs, the authorities are considering delaying deadlines for tax filings and temporarily lowering customs duties for certain imports. They will monitor inflation developments and maintain the exchange rate peg to the euro. The authorities will also do all they can to ease liquidity strains in the banking system. They are also are working with banks to enable targeted loan maturity extensions.
This paper discusses Union of Comoros’ Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI). Reflecting the large budgetary and external financing gaps arising from emergency assistance and reconstruction needs, the authorities are seeking financial assistance under the RCF and RFI exogenous shock windows. Comoros’ qualification is based on urgent balance of payments needs following a severe natural disaster. The authorities shared staff’s main policy recommendations. Efforts to address the cyclone’s impact will need to focus on mobilizing external financing, creating fiscal space by containing the wage bill, and spending mobilized resources in a well-targeted and timely manner. The authorities plan to address financial sector weaknesses, including by finding a solution for the critical situation of the postal bank, closely monitoring nonperforming loans, and addressing obstacles in the judicial system to facilitate the use of collateral and promote lending.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Comorian economy’s performance improved in 2017. Growth is estimated at 2.7 percent for 2017, half a percentage point higher than in the previous year. A combination of factors contributed to this outcome, notably an improved electricity situation relative to 2016, increased exports, and stronger remittances flows. However, the economy was held back by a perceived deterioration in the business climate and tensions in the financial sector. Inflation remained moderate. The near-term outlook remains challenging in the absence of further reform efforts. The authorities’ reform agenda and investment plans, undertaken in the context of their revised strategic development plan will help raise potential growth rates going.
This 2016 Article IV Consultation highlights difficulties the economy of Comoros encountered in 2015 and the first half of 2016. An ongoing crisis in the electricity sector and slower-than-expected implementation of the public investment program were the main factors behind the slower growth. Inflation remained well anchored at an annual rate of about 2 percent. Fiscal policy was challenging for most of 2015 as the impact of slower economic growth was compounded by lower revenues. Growth is projected to pick up somewhat to 2 percent in 2016, and revenues are projected to increase to 12 percent of GDP.
KEY ISSUES • The Comorian economy continues to grow although at a slightly slower pace. Economic growth in 2014 is projected at 3.3 percent, adversely affected by electricity disruptions and slower-than-expected implementation of the public investment program. Inflation has remained subdued. Staffs’ baseline assumption is that real GDP growth will average around 4 percent per annum over the medium term, provided reforms are implemented. • Implementation of the 2014 budget was challenging, particularly after mid-year. While revenues were broadly on target, resources were inadequate to meet the higher- than-budgeted wage bill resulting from an increase in teacher salaries in March and previously un-budgeted expenditures, including on elections. Domestically-financed investment spending was severely constrained and temporary arrears were incurred on salaries and external debt. • The key short-term challenge is to find a better balance between available resources and expenditures so that arrears can be avoided. Spending plans need to be based on realistic expectations of the resources likely to be available. The 2015 budget is premised on this principle but the scope for domestically-financed investment is inadequate as obligatory spending on wages and salaries and debt service absorbs most of domestic revenue. • For the medium-term the key challenges are to create fiscal space for infrastructure investment and social spending, accelerate inclusive growth and employment generation, and reduce poverty. The authorities need to focus their efforts on strengthening revenue administration and public financial management to expand fiscal space and improve transparency. Weaknesses in the business environment, including inadequate infrastructure, especially in the energy sector, and difficulties in contract enforcement represent important challenges.
This paper discusses the Union of the Comoros’ Sixth Review Under the Three-Year Arrangement Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and Request for Waiver of a Performance Criterion. Performance under the ECF-supported program through end-June was broadly satisfactory. All but one of the performance criteria and all indicative targets for end-June were met. Most structural benchmarks were also met. The authorities are requesting a waiver for the nonobservance of the performance criterion on net credit to the government at end-June 2013. The IMF staff supports this request and recommends completion of the sixth and final review under the ECF arrangement.