The Republic of Equatorial Guinea would like to thank the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for its very useful economic policy advice in the context of the 2012 Article IV consultations.
The government is aware that economic and social policy formulation is handicapped by the absence of a system for the preparation, compilation, and dissemination of macroeconomic, social, and demographic data. For that reason, the National Statistics Institute was recently established and has already begun working on the preparation of the censuses and surveys planned for 2013, including the population and housing censuses. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that the paucity of data makes it is difficult to measure changes in the economic and social indicators, as was discussed during the Article IV consultations.
The government would like to highlight the efforts made to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and implement the National Economic and Social Development Plan (PNDES), under which the infrastructure needed to develop the productive sector and significantly improve the living conditions of the population was built during the first phase from 2008 to 2012. Today, following the implementation of the PNDES, potable water and electricity are in regular supply and telecommunications systems, social housing, a hospital network, school buildings, hotels, convention centers, as well as road infrastructure, and ports and airports of international standard have all been put in place.
The government remains committed to strengthening public administration management and fostering transparency as well as to supporting productive and business development with a view to generating sustainable economic growth over the medium- and long-term. Against that backdrop, a referendum was held in 2011 to update the Basic Law of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, resulting in the creation of several important institutions such as the Court of Auditors, the National Economic and Social Development Council, and the Office of the Ombudsman. Further, with support from the World Bank, great strides have been made towards accession to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).
With a view to putting government finances on a stable and sustainable path, short-term measures, for immediate implementation, have been taken to streamline public expenditure and increase non-oil revenues. In parallel, work is continuing on several projects, including, the recently launched “Strengthening Public Finances” project supported by the African Development Bank, which has an important capacity-building component in addition to its focus on computerization of the public sector. IMF Technical Assistance is also being stepped up, a massive effort is underway to strengthen the capacities of public servants, and a faculty of Public Financial Administration is being set up with support from the World Bank.
In relation to compliance with regional commitments, the government has asked the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) to prepare a proposal to resolve the issue and facilitate compliance with the CEMAC Agreements with respect to community reserves and bilateral agreements signed with friendly countries with which the Republic of Equatorial Guinea enjoys good economic relations and cooperation.
Concerning investments made during the first phase of the National Development Plan, we welcome the IMF’s commendation on the creation and coming on stream of economic and social infrastructure. However, we think it is inappropriate to talk about waste1 in this context bearing in mind that the administration faces a factual technical capacity deficit in the areas of awarding contracts and inspecting projects. In that regard, the government has established a dedicated, independent entity to deal with the evaluation, design, monitoring, and inspection of public works, which over time has been strengthening its project evaluation, design, and monitoring capabilities. We are, therefore, confident and can affirm that the government is moving in the right direction.
Taking into account the above observations, the government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea consents to the publication of the attached 2012 Article IV Report, together with this communiqué.
The Minister of Finance and Budget
Translation note: the word ‘despilfarro’ was used in paragraph 33 of the Spanish text provided to the Equatorial Guinean authorities as a translation of the English word ‘wastage’. ‘Despilfarro’ can sometimes imply a strong element of intent. An alternative translation could have been ‘desperdicio’.