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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Restoring macroeconomic stability, providing a foundation for sustainable inclusive growth, and addressing weaknesses in governance remain the main objectives of this program. While allowing for a slight fiscal loosening to meet humanitarian needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, tight monetary policy, much improved public financial management, domestic revenue mobilization, and zero central bank financing have supported the administration’s efforts to achieve price and exchange rate stability. This has helped to preserve the purchasing power of the poor who were the most affected by the high inflation environment at the program’s inception. The authorities consider bringing the ECF-supported program back on track of utmost importance and are committed to their development plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
International Monetary Fund
The temporary increase in access limits under IMF emergency financing instruments will expire on October 5, 2020, unless extended. Access limits under emergency instruments (the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI)) were increased in April 2020 for a period of six months, from 50 to 100 percent of quota annually and from 100 to 150 percent of quota cumulatively. The increased limits are subject to review and can be extended before their expiration. It is proposed to extend the period of higher access limits for emergency financing for a period of six months, through April 6, 2021. Against a background of continued pandemic-related disruption, staff expects there could be significant demand for emergency lending in the October 2020–April 2021 period, including from countries with pending requests and from countries that received emergency support at levels less than the maximum amounts available. A six-month extension would give more time for countries to benefit from higher access limits under emergency financing.
Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Jiro Honda, and Keyra Primus
Raising revenues has been a formidable challenge for fragile and conflict-affected states (FCS), a fact confirmed once again in the COVID-19 crisis. Nonetheless, achieving sizable gains in tax collection in fragile environments is not impossible. This paper—with empirical analyses and case studies—contributes to policy discussions on tax reform in such challenging environments. Our analyses show that many FCS achieved some recovery of tax revenues, even though they found it challenging to sustain the momentum beyond three years. We also find that changes in the quality of institutions (e.g., government effectiveness and control of corruption) are a key contributory factor to their tax performance (much more so than for non-FCS). Next, we look into the tax increase episodes of four countries (Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, and the Solomon Islands). Although each FCS is unique, their experiences suggest two lessons: (i) tax reforms can be pursued even with initially weak institutions; and (ii) strong political commitment is important to sustain reform efforts and realize long-lasting, sizable gains.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper presents Liberia’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility. The economic impact of the pandemic is hitting the poorest with little social safety net, and food security of those relying on uncertain daily income is a pressing concern. The authorities have responded by taking revenue and expenditure measures to support emergency food aid for the poor; improving monitoring and control of spending; and safeguarding scarce foreign exchange reserves. Preliminary data suggest that performance under the Extended Credit Facility-supported program has been weak, though the authorities are fully committed to address the weaknesses. In order to address the shortage of Liberian dollars and the growing need for more US dollar liquidity, the authorities have contracted the printing of additional Liberian dollar bank notes and are formulating measures for inclusion in the FY2021 budget to augment US dollar liquidity.
International Monetary Fund
In direct response to the COVID-19 crisis the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board has adopted some immediate enhancements to its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) to enable the Fund to provide debt service relief for its poorest and most vulnerable members. The CCRT enables the IMF to deliver grants for debt relief benefiting eligible low-income countries in the wake of catastrophic natural disasters and major, fast-spreading public health emergencies.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Liberia remains a fragile, post-conflict country with weak capacity and limited physical and human capital accumulation. External assistance to Liberia is winding down from its peak in 2016. To address pressing needs, the government launched its Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), focusing on physical and human capital accumulation. Policy uncertainty and slippages, however, imposed a significant toll on the economy over the past two years. Particularly, higher fiscal deficits and accommodative monetary policy have led to rapid depreciation of the Liberia dollar and increased inflation, eroding the purchasing power of the poor.