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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
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.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
The current ECF arrangement (access of 160 percent of quota or SDR 224.32 million) was approved on June 30, 2017 in the context of a very difficult and deteriorating social, economic, and financial situation. The crisis was precipitated by the oil price and security shocks that began in 2014, and the heavy burden of external commercial debt with Glencore. The restructuring of this debt in June 2018 paved the way for the completion of the second review in July 2018. Chad’s stability is key for the regional security situation given its regional peace-keeping efforts.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that Trinidad and Tobago is slowly recovering from a deep recession. The economy continued to contract but at a slower pace, underpinned by the strong recovery in gas production, while weak activity in construction, financial services, and trade, continued foreign exchange shortages, and slow pace of public investment dampened non-energy sector growth. Positive growth should return from 2018 as the recovery takes hold in both sectors. Good progress has been made in fiscal consolidation through spending cuts, but public debt continued to rise, approaching the government’s soft target of 65 percent of GDP. Economic prospects are expected to improve over the medium term, but remain heavily dependent on the energy sector.
International Monetary Fund
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.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights a decline in the real GDP of Trinidad and Tobago of 6 percent in 2016, with a further decline of 3.25 percent projected by the IMF staff in 2017. The combined impact of weak growth and low energy sector revenues increased the overall fiscal deficit to 12.1 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2016, though it is expected to drop to 11.0 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2017. Meanwhile, the current account deteriorated by 14.5 percentage points to a deficit of 10.7 percent of GDP in 2016. The government has taken steps to adjust fiscal imbalances, through efforts to reform the energy tax regime, reduce fuel subsidies, and boost nonenergy revenues.
Uwe Böwer
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) play an important role in Emerging Europe’s economies, notably in the energy and transport sectors. Based on a new firm-level dataset, this paper reviews the SOE landscape, assesses SOE performance across countries and vis-à-vis private firms, and evaluates recent SOE governance reform experience in 11 Emerging European countries, as well as Sweden as a benchmark. Profitability and efficiency of resource allocation of SOEs lag those of private firms in most sectors, with substantial cross-country variation. Poor SOE performance raises three main risks: large and risky contingent liabilities could stretch public finances; sizeable state ownership of banks coupled with poor governance could threaten financial stability; and negative productivity spillovers could affect the economy at large. SOE governance frameworks are partly weak and should be strengthened along three lines: fleshing out a consistent ownership policy; giving teeth to financial oversight; and making SOE boards more professional.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Iraq is an oil-dependent and state-dominated fragile economy that has been hit hard by the conflict with ISIS and the fall in oil prices. The conflict has hurt the economy through displacement and impoverishment of millions of people, and destruction of infrastructure and assets. The oil price decline has resulted in a massive reduction in budget revenue, pushing the fiscal deficit to an unsustainable level. The authorities are responding to the crisis with ambitious but necessary fiscal adjustment while maintaining their commitment to the exchange rate peg, which provides a key nominal anchor in a highly uncertain environment.