The Fifth Review under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Arrangement for the Union of the Comoros discusses macroeconomic policies and developments of the country. The performance under the ECF-supported program through end-December has been satisfactory. All performance criteria and indicative targets for end-December 2012 have been met, with wide margins in some cases. Macroeconomic developments have been consistent with expectations under the ECF arrangement. IMF staff has proposed modifications to the structural benchmarks, and recommends completion of the fifth review under the ECF arrangement.
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.
Recent developments in the Comoros point to slow, uneven, yet significant progress in political normalization. Overall performance under the Extended Credit Facility-supported program has been broadly satisfactory. The government understands the need to continue fiscal consolidation in support of macroeconomic objectives, targeting a reduction of the domestic primary deficit. In the structural area, program focus will be on public finance management and key sectors critical to improved growth performance. Debt relief is crucial to securing medium-term external debt sustainability and for success of the program.
The policies in a challenging political and economic environment are discussed in this study. The importance of reforms to enhance the budget process, tax administration, and expenditure control is encouraged. A higher growth path will require far-reaching structural reforms to bolster Comoros's competitiveness and increase the economy’s ability to intermediate remittances and aid inflows. The need to improve the business environment and the management of public utilities is explained in detail.
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.
This paper discusses the Union of Comoros’ 2008 Article IV Consultation and request for Emergency Post-Conflict Assistance and disbursement under the Rapid-Access Component of the Exogenous Shocks Facility. Real GDP growth has been well below the regional average, and per-capita income has steadily declined. Rising food and energy costs have worsened the external position, and the external debt burden is far above the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries threshold. To reverse the deteriorating trend, the authorities have initiated measures in 2008 to contain the fiscal deficit and begin to address macroeconomic and structural impediments to growth.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Comorian economy’s performance improved in 2017. Growth is estimated at 2.7 percent for 2017, half a percentage point higher than in the previous year. A combination of factors contributed to this outcome, notably an improved electricity situation relative to 2016, increased exports, and stronger remittances flows. However, the economy was held back by a perceived deterioration in the business climate and tensions in the financial sector. Inflation remained moderate. The near-term outlook remains challenging in the absence of further reform efforts. The authorities’ reform agenda and investment plans, undertaken in the context of their revised strategic development plan will help raise potential growth rates going.
Comoros remains in debt distress, pending the achievement of the completion point under the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative. The outlook for 2012 is broadly consistent with expectations under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. The IMF Executive Board has approved a three-year ECF arrangement to support Comoros’ medium-term economic recovery efforts. The government has continued pursuing a prudent external debt management policy. Achievement of the government’s fiscal objectives requires close adherence to the fiscal program to enhance the efficiency of tax and customs administration and to expand the tax base.