This paper discusses Niger’s Fifth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement and Request for Modification of Performance Criteria. Niger faces daunting development challenges, aggravated by terrorist incursions, climate change, and low uranium export prices. Presidential elections are due in late 2020. Reforms are advancing and economic activity is reasonably strong. Program implementation has been broadly satisfactory. All quantitative targets for end-June 2019 were met. However, a subsequent weakening of revenues, partly due to Nigeria’s closure of its borders to trade, as well as topped-up budget support, required mitigating policy measures and the adjustment of end-December 2019 targets. Structural reforms are advancing with delays. Niger can strengthen prospects for a successful transition by securing favorable contractual arrangements with foreign investors; establishing a framework for administering oil resources in line with good practices, notably channeling all revenues directly through the Treasury; and increasing spending on physical and human capital, while being mindful of the inherent volatility in natural resource revenues.
This Selected Issues paper presents an external stability assessment on Niger. Niger’s current account balance deteriorated in 2013, mostly on account of higher food and capital goods imports. The deficit is expected to widen further in 2014–15, mainly driven by large investment in the extractive industry and basic infrastructure. The current account is projected to gradually improve from 2016 as important projects in infrastructure will come to end, the oil and mining sectors come on stream and public and private savings increase. Although aid and foreign direct investments are the main sources of external financing, external borrowing–mainly on concessional terms–has increased significantly.
Mr. Trevor Serge Coleridge Alleyne and Mr. Mumtaz Hussain
The reform of energy subsidies is an important but challenging issue for sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. There is a relatively large theoretical and empirical literature on this issue. While this paper relies on that literature, too, it tailors its discussion to SSA countries to respond to the following questions: Why it is important to reduce energy subsidies? What are the difficulties involved in energy subsidy reform? How best can a subsidy reform be implemented? This paper uses various sources of information on SSA countries: quantitative assessments, surveys, and individual (but standardized) case studies.
Niger understands the need to adopt a long-term strategy capable of optimizing natural and human resources to promote sustainable economic and social development and inclusive growth. The government has renewed planning efforts in the preparation of three principal strategic documents. These three strategic planning tools are complementary, and the government is committed to implementing them so that they interact with each other synergistically while ensuring dynamic linkages between short-, medium-, and long-term programs.
This supplement presents country case studies reviewing energy subsidy reform experiences, which are the basis for the reform lessons identified in the main paper. The selection of countries for the case studies reflects the availability of data and of previously documented evidence on country-specific reforms. The 22 country case studies were also chosen to provide cases from all regions and a mix of outcomes from reform. The studies cover 19 countries, including seven from sub-Saharan Africa, two in developing Asia, three in the Middle East and North Africa, four in Latin America and the Caribbean, and three in Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS. The case studies are organized by energy product, with 14 studies of the reform of petroleum product subsidies, seven studies of the reform of electricity subsidies, and a case study of subsidy reform for coal. The larger number of studies on fuel subsidies reflects the wider availability of data and past studies for these reforms. The structure of each case study is similar, with each one providing the context of the reform and a description of the reforms; discussion of the impact of the reform on energy prices or subsidies and its success or failure; mitigating measures that were implemented in an attempt to generate public support for the reform and offset adverse effects on the poor; and, finally, identification of lessons for designing reforms.
Niger’s medium-term fiscal policy aims to support the growth strategy by creating fiscal space for increasing development spending while maintaining external debt sustainability. Economic activity in recent years has been affected by large swings in agricultural production. The authorities’ program is aimed at maintaining macroeconomic stability while increasing resilience to shocks; strengthening public finance and debt management; and supporting private and financial sector development. Medium-term fiscal policy will aim at maintaining debt sustainability while creating room for increased development spending.
This paper discusses key findings of the Second Review under the three-year arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) for Mali. Performance under the PRGF-supported program has been generally satisfactory, but there have been delays in implementing structural reforms. Performance criterion on nonconcessional debt was breached in April 2009 when the authorities used loan financing instead of the envisaged bond financing for the programmed reduction in value-added tax (VAT) credit arrears. Authorities have taken corrective measures to restore the track record of structural reforms and address the nonconcessional borrowing.
This paper presents Mali’s First Review under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, and requests for Waiver of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria. The food and fuel price shocks have begun to moderate, partly because of the authorities' supply-side measures and declining oil prices. New risks are emerging from the global credit crisis and its spillover effects onto global growth, commodity markets, and exchange rates. The authorities need to be vigilant on the fiscal front because policies have relaxed owing to external food and fuel price shocks and higher-than-expected nondebt financing.
The staff report for the Fourth Review on Nigeria highlights developments under the Policy Support Instrument (PSI). Robust non-oil sector growth significantly strengthened fiscal and external positions, reducing inflation that surpassed the original program goals. Fiscal risks have increased in the short term because recent practices on the use of an oil price rule and oil savings, which have been important to macroeconomic performance, are being revisited. The government’s consensual approach within the framework of the constitution offers the prospect of a lasting solution.