Comoros faces significant economic and political challenges. The fiscal priorities are to restore revenues and curtail spending so that domestic arrears can be reduced and the program brought back on track. Clearing external arrears is a key hurdle to debt sustainability. Improvements to the investment climate are critical for attracting foreign direct investment. Financial sector development is needed to support private sector growth and economic diversification. If implemented successfully, the government’s policies could be the basis for a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility arrangement.
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.
This paper discusses an assessment of Comoros’s performance Under the Program Supported by the Emergency Post-Conflict Assistance (EPCA). Overall performance under the EPCA-supported program has been broadly satisfactory. Nearly all EPCA performance indicators for end-March 2009 were observed. Revenue collection was stronger than anticipated. On the spending side, recent measures to improve expenditure management are gradually restoring order in spending operations, although continued difficulties have been experienced in managing the wage bill. All but one of the structural indicators were met.
The Selected Issues paper for the Union of the Comoros describes an assessment of the external competitiveness. Comoros has been hard hit by negative terms-of-trade shocks that have weakened the external position. A trend decline in the world price of vanilla, its main export, has occurred parallel to unprecedented increases in international food and petroleum prices. Although export growth has slackened, imports have steadily grown driven by a surge in remittances and a steady real appreciation of the euro-pegged national currency.