The Gabonese economy was gradually recovering from the 2014 oil price shock when it was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Decisive confinement measures have helped save lives, but the pandemic and the fall in oil prices have severely hit the economy, increasing unemployment and poverty. With a weak economy and increased COVID-19 related spending, the fiscal deficit has widened, with a sharp increase in public debt. Emergency financing from the IMF through the Rapid Financing Instrument (US$299.61 million) helped meet urgent balance of payment needs in 2020. Growth is expected to resume in 2021 but the pandemic has made the economic outlook very challenging and generated sizable financing needs over the medium term.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Ghana highlights discussions focused on strengthening institutions and policies to preserve macroeconomic stability and promote inclusive growth, building on the authorities’ “Ghana beyond Aid” strategy. The government headline deficit is projected to reach 4.7 percent of gross domestic product in 2019, driven by lower-than-expected revenues, spending on flagship programs, and unexpected security outlays due to emerging security challenges in the region. Medium-term prospects are favorable, with robust growth driven mostly by the extractive sector. Election-related spending pressures in 2020 constitute the main risk to the baseline scenario. Fiscal risks in the financial and energy sectors could also impact the government deficit. Government borrowing needs are exposed to rollover risk that should be carefully managed as financing conditions could tighten. The commitment to the new fiscal rules is expected to help maintain fiscal discipline, as reflected in the unchanged policy baseline. A more ambitious fiscal stance is called for to reduce macroeconomic risks, accelerate debt reduction, and strengthen the external balance.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation discusses that while the peace agreement signed in September 2018 has improved the prospects for lasting peace in South Sudan, the implementation of the agreement has become more protracted than envisaged with the recently announced six-month delay in forming a new national unity government. A relapse into war in mid-2016 spread insecurity across the country and severely affected all economic activities and exacerbated the humanitarian crisis and food insecurity. The country is in a serious economic crisis. The discussions focused on the urgent need to restore macroeconomic stability and rebuild economic buffers. Addressing the macroeconomic imbalance, supported by improvements in oil management and public financial management, is an important factor to rebuild confidence in government policies. This will be necessary to regain access to external financial support from development partners. One of the key policy recommendations is to strengthen oil management and transparency by an immediate stop of contracting new oil-backed advances.
This paper discusses Burkina Faso’s Request for a Three-Year Arrangement Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The program aims to maintain macroeconomic stability while promoting sustainable and inclusive growth. Under the program, fiscal space for priority security, social, and investment spending would be supported by strengthening revenue mobilization and containing current spending, especially on wages. Efforts to improve investment selection and execution would achieve more with the resources available. Prudent public financial and debt management along with energy sector reforms would ensure fiscal sustainability and mitigate fiscal risks. Structural reforms would improve the business environment and promote diversification. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for an ECF arrangement.
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.
KEY ISSUES Economic background and outlook. Tanzania has enjoyed strong and stable growth, projected to remain at 7 percent next year and in the medium term. Inflation is at 6 percent, gradually converging to the authorities’ 5 percent medium-term objective. The external current account deficit remains among the largest in the region, at 14 percent of GDP this year. Fiscal revenue shortfalls and overruns in domestically-financed spending led the deficit to rise to 6.8 percent of GDP in 2012/13. Revenue shortfalls in 2013/14 compared to the budget approved by parliament have prompted the authorities to undertake expenditure cuts during the fiscal year in an effort to meet their 5 percent of GDP target. Based on the debt sustainability analysis, Tanzania remains at low risk of debt distress. Recent program engagement. Tanzania concluded its final review under a Standby Credit Facility (SCF) arrangement, together with its Article IV consultations, on April 25, 2014. The SCF expired on April 30, 2014. Key challenges. Over the next three years, policymakers will face several challenges, including the following: • Step up needed investment in infrastructure while protecting critical social spending. These objectives will need to be pursued following careful prioritization, to preserve government debt sustainability. • Prepare for natural gas. If recent discoveries of sizeable offshore natural gas deposits are confirmed as commercially viable, sizable fiscal revenues would need to be managed to bring benefits to all Tanzanians. Against this background, the authorities are requesting a three-year PSI to be in place by the start of FY2014/15. They see the PSI as an appropriate instrument to underpin the close policy dialogue with staff, provide a positive signal to donors and markets, and safeguard policy discipline. Staff supports the authorities’ request for a PSI.
KEY ISSUES Background, outlook, and risks. Economic growth is projected to remain strong at 7 percent next year and in the medium term. Inflation is at 6 percent, gradually converging to the authorities’ 5 percent medium term objective. The external current account deficit remains among the largest in the region, at 14 percent of GDP this year. Fiscal revenue shortfalls and overruns in domestically-financed spending led the deficit to rise to 6.8 percent of GDP in 2012/13. Revenue shortfalls in 2013/14 compared to the budget approved by parliament have prompted the authorities to undertake expenditure cuts during the fiscal year in an effort to meet their 5 percent of GDP target. Based on the debt sustainability analysis, Tanzania remains at low risk of debt distress. A major upside risk for the long term, not yet incorporated in the baseline projections, relates to sizable finds of offshore natural gas that, if confirmed as commercially viable, could bring in large revenues during the next decade. Program implementation. All performance criteria under the program were met, except a sizable breach of the performance criterion on net domestic financing at end-June 2013. The structural benchmark on submission to parliament of the VAT reform for November 2013 was missed. The authorities have taken corrective measures. Macroeconomic and structural policies. Preparations for the draft 2014/15 budget are under way. A VAT reform aimed at improving efficiency and reducing exemptions is ready for submission to parliament prior to the beginning of the new fiscal year. A priority in the next few years is to establish the institutional and policy framework to ensure that, if natural gas revenues materialize, they will bring benefits to all Tanzanians. Staff recommends completion of the third (and final) review under the SCF arrangement and approval of the authorities’ requests for a waiver for nonobservance of a performance criterion and for completion of the financing assurances review.
Tanzania’s macroeconomic outlook is favorable with buoyant growth and declining inflation. The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) commended its prudent policy management and progress in stabilizing the economy. The country’s 2012–13 budget appropriately balances the development and social spending needs with the debt-stabilizing objective. The country’s structural reforms aim to secure fiscal sustainability and support a strong economic expansion in the medium term. The Directors concluded that the floating exchange regime would continue to provide helpful flexibility to preserve its macroeconomic stability.
The Fourth Review Under the Policy Support Instrument (PSI) for Uganda highlights that the PSI-supported program is on track. All end-December 2011 quantitative assessment criteria were met, as were most of the structural benchmarks. The stance of macroeconomic policy remains appropriate. Monetary tightening, initiated in July 2011 in response to rising inflation, has been effective in reducing demand and price pressures in the economy. High interest rates supported by tighter fiscal policy have strengthened the currency and raised reserve levels.
Senegal's economic recovery is continuing and has been largely unaffected by the political crisis in Côte d’Ivoire. Policy discussions focused on the economic implications of two new developments since the program was approved in December 2010. Fiscal policy faces a difficult trade-off between additional priority expenditure and the need to preserve debt sustainability. The sustainability of Senegal’s external public and publicly guaranteed (PPG) debt appears vulnerable to rollover risks. This highlights the need for prudent debt management by Senegal, as it seeks to gain greater access to external resources.