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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

The Gambian economy is still recovering from the severe drought and crop failure. Depreciation pressure on the Dalasi has largely been driven by weaknesses in the balance of payments and uncertainty about exchange rate policy. Executive Directors have urged the government to curb domestic borrowing and to sustain the fiscal adjustment needed to reduce the high cost and risks of domestic debt. They have also commended the progress achieved toward eliminating fiscal dominance and encourage implementing a restrained monetary policy.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

KEY ISSUES Background. The Gambian economy is facing urgent balance of payments needs triggered mostly by the impact of the regional Ebola outbreak on tourism. Although the country remains Ebola free, the regional outbreak is expected to cut by more than half tourism receipts for the 2014/15 season. During 2014?15, the impact of the shocks on the balance of payments, offset in part by lower global fuel prices, is estimated to be $40 million (over 5 percent of 2015 GDP). Policy slippages and persistent financial difficulties in public enterprises have exacerbated the problems and pushed The Gambia’s ECF arrangement off track. In their Letter of Intent the authorities have notified the Fund of their decision to cancel the arrangement. Request. The authorities are requesting support under the RCF—in an amount of SDR 7.775 million or equivalent to 25 percent of quota—to cope with the urgent balance of payments needs and a one-year staff-monitored program (SMP) to guide policy implementation before returning to a successor ECF arrangement, provided policies remain on track. Main policy commitments. The authorities have taken a number of upfront policy actions. The approved 2015 budget envisages lowering net domestic borrowing (NDB) to 1 percent of GDP in 2015 from 12¼ percent in 2014, anchored by a set of revenue and expenditure measures, and complemented by some $22 million in external budget support. The authorities have taken steps to resolve the financial problems of key public enterprises and intend to take measures to secure their medium-term fiscal consolidation and poverty reduction objectives. Staff’s view. Staff supports the authorities’ request. Staff views the package of measures articulated in the attached letter of intent as representing a considerable effort. The RCF disbursement would augment the authorities’ own strong adjustment efforts, help catalyze additional donor financing, and give the authorities the time needed to develop their medium-term adjustment plans. The SMP will provide the Gambian authorities an opportunity to establish a track record before moving to a successor ECF to which they aspire. A period of monitoring will also allow the time needed to assess the impact of the shocks fully and hence better tailor the objectives of a successor ECF arrangement.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper examines economic developments in The Gambia during 1994–98. Although real output growth slowed significantly in the early 1990s and turned negative in 1994/95, both 1997 and 1998 were characterized by an upswing in real economic activity. The 1994/95 output decline of 3.4 percent was primarily owing to a significant downturn in tourist activity. The recovery in the tourist sector and the more favorable weather conditions led to real GDP growth of 4.9 percent in 1997 and an estimated real growth rate of 4.7 percent in 1998.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This IMF Staff Report for the 2013 Article IV Consultation presents economic development and policies of Tthe Gambia. The IMF report shows that Tthe Gambia’s economy is picking up slowly from the past drought conditions. The Gambian Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE) emphasizes fiscal adjustment, together with infrastructure investment and structural reforms to support inclusive growth. Fiscal adjustment is needed to ease the heavy debt burden, arising mainly from domestic debt. Execution of the PAGE, supported by commitments from development partners, would help reduce poverty, especially in rural areas, given a strong focus on agriculture.

Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Ms. Anja Baum, Clay Hackney, Olamide Harrison, Keyra Primus, and Ms. Veronique Salins
How do countries mobilize large tax revenue—defined as an average increase in the tax-to-GDP ratio of 0.5 percent per year over three years or more? To answer this question, we build a novel dataset covering 55 episodes of large tax revenue mobilization in low-income countries and emerging markets. We find that: (i) reforms of indirect taxes and exemptions are the most common tax policy measures; (ii) multi-pronged tax administration reforms often go hand in hand with tax policy measures or are stand alone; and (iii) sustainability of the episodes hinges on tax administration reforms in the key compliance areas (risk-based audits, registration, filing, payment, and reporting).
Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Jiro Honda, Hiroaki Miyamoto, Keyra Primus, and Mouhamadou Sy
How can Low-Income Countries (LICs) enhance tax revenue collection to finance their vast development needs? We address this question by analyzing seven tax reform experiences in LICs (Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Maldives, Mauritania, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda). Three lessons stand out, although reforms must be tailored to individual circumstances: (i) Tax reforms require first and foremost political commitment and buy-in from key stakeholders; (ii) Countries that pursue both revenue administration and tax policy reforms tend to see much larger and persistent gains; and (iii) A successful strategy often starts with fiscal reform measures with immediate effect to build momentum. These can include: simplifying the tax system; curbing exemptions; reforming indirect taxes on goods and services (e.g., excises); and better managing compliance risks through strengthening taxpayer segmentation (often beginning with strengthening the Large Taxpayers Office). A comprehensive reform strategy (e.g., a medium-term revenue strategy) can help to properly sequence reform measures and facilitate their implementation.
International Monetary Fund

This paper discusses the request from Gambian authorities for a three-year arrangement under the extended credit facility (ECF). The Gambian economy performed well during the previous IMF arrangement, which expired at the end of March 2011; however, there were slippages under the program. The authorities requested a new three-year ECF arrangement, with a large initial disbursement, but relatively low access overall. The initial disbursement would support stability during the current drought crisis, while remaining disbursements would encourage fiscal adjustment and catalyze donor support for the poverty reduction strategy.