Tag Archives: IMF

Malawi poll stand-off loss counted at K18 billion

3 Jun

ImageA regional and economic think tank has estimated that Malawi lost approximately K18 billion due to a slowdown in economic activity just in the first week of the political impasse when the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) could not announce results of the elections.

The Harare, Zimbabwe-based African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) says it has done rough research on the economic impact of the delayed release of the results in Malawi which shows that Malawi has lost a lot economically in the days of the  uncertainty.

Afrodad executive director Collins Magalasi told The Daily Times in an interview in Maputo, Mozambique on Friday that the research showed that the country incurred heavy economic lossesThrough suspended exports, slowed down production by some companies and reduced informal trade. He was speaking on the sidelines of Africa Rising conference organised jointly by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Mozambican government. “We learned at the border posts that traffic of both imports and exports had slowed down,” said Magalasi.

He said his institution is now monitoring Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into the country to establish whether the negative publicity of the election could lead into fewer inquiries about Malawi by investors. He said his institution will prepare a report on the trend of FDI prior, during and after elections, to give a proper picture of how international investors behave in reaction to domestic issues, especially on elections.

Source: http://timesmediamw.com/malawi-poll-stand-off-loss-counted-at-k18-billion/

IMF welcomes Namibia’s 2014 active tax-reform agenda

10 Nov

Flag-map_of_NamibiaThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) has welcomed Namibia’s fiscal year 2013/14 budget, which lays the groundwork for an active reform agenda in the area of reduced income taxation and improved public financial management and tax administration.

IMF mission chief Lamin Leigh said on the last day of a 15-day IMF mission to the country that the fund welcomed plans by the government to undertake a comprehensive review that aimed to improve the investment climate and the ease of doing business, support small- to medium-sized enterprises and pursue deeper economic integration.

This approach would require increasing the quality of public spending by reforming public financial management, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the tax system, reducing the cost of doing business and diversifying the economy.

“The authorities’ increasing emphasis on efficiency and innovation-driven growth, underpinned by greater private-sector development to boost economy-wide productivity, is a step in the right direction.

“While the budget is fairly expansionary, total tax revenue collections, to date, have proven resilient and should help consolidate on the large gains made in the fiscal year 2012/13,” he commented.

With an uncertain external environment, the mission urged the Namibian government to begin rebuilding policy buffers, which should be pursued through a “growth-friendly” fiscal consolidation strategy, focusing on reining in current spending, such as current transfers and subsidies to State-owned enterprises (SOE), while preserving growth-promoting capital and infrastructure spending.

The fiscal consolidation process also needed to be balanced with a combination of expenditure-cutting measures and domestic revenue-mobilisation efforts.

“Thus, the mission welcomes the government’s commitment to a simplified income-tax system to achieve higher compliance and lower cost of administration. The mission supports the authorities’ ongoing work on broadening the tax base through rationalisation of existing tax incentives in some sectors,” Leigh commented.

He added that delivering good outcomes from the government’s diversification policies would require supportive measures to liberalise the service sectors, reduce the domestic regulatory burden on firms and address the skills mismatch in the labour market.

Citing further deductions of the IMF mission, Leigh said Namibia’s real gross domestic product had grown by a healthy 5% in 2012, while preliminary data for the first half of 2013 suggested that growth had moderated somewhat.

The slowdown reflected weak global demand for exports, which more than offset the solid growth in the nonmineral sector, most notably in retail trade.

At the end of August, inflation stood at 6%, broadly in line with inflation in South Africa.

“The fiscal outturn in the fiscal year 2012/13 was significantly better than targeted, with the budget almost balanced at the end of the fiscal year. The strong performance reflects both revenue over performance and some under-execution in capital spending,” Leigh held.

Looking ahead, the mission forecast that output growth would further moderate to about 4% in 2013.

Mineral exports would likely remain subdued in the second half of 2013 on account of weak external demand, with growth slowing in Namibia’s major trading-partner economies.

The impact of the drought this year would also likely weaken economic activity.

“These factors would be partly offset by strong domestic-demand growth emanating from the recent income-tax reform, along with the fiscal expansion targeted in the fiscal year 2013/14 budget,” he said.

The nonmineral sector, in particular construction, was also expected to further rebound in the second half of 2013, mainly on account of the development of the Husab uranium mine, in Namibia’s Erongo region, which was expected to become the second-largest uranium mine in the world.

Source: http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/imf-welcomes-namibias-2014-active-tax-reform-agenda-2013-11-08

Sudan welcomes France’s decision to cancel its debt

8 Nov

Sudan_flag_mapAccording to the Sudan Tribune the Sudanese foreign ministry hailed the decision by France to include the country in the list of nations that would benefit from the debt cancellation scheme announced by Paris this week.

The debt relief plan will also include four other nations namely Somalia, Zimbabwe, Chad and the Ivory Coast in the amount of $2.42 billion as incorporated in France’s 2014 budget.France’s social economy minister Benoît Hamon told the NewZimbabwe.com that “The debt relief is almost immediate, since we are transferring loans made in the past into donations”.It was not clear how much debt is owed by Sudan to France.

The spokesman of Sudan’s foreign ministry Abu Bakr al-Sideeg expressed hope that other European nations would now be encouraged to follow France’s footsteps.

He noted that Sudan satisfied all technical requirements for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and that the international community has promised Khartoum to assist with debt cancellation as reward for 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed with the south. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a report released last week that Sudan’s debt will hit $44.7 billion this year which amounts to 85% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Around three quarters of Sudan’s $40 billion plus external debt is owed to the Paris Club of creditor nations and other non-member states. The remaining balance is equally divided between commercial banks as well as international and regional financial bodies. Last April, the IMF’s Mission Chief for Sudan Edward Gemayel said that it will be near impossible for Sudan to secure debt relief even if it satisfied technical and economic requirements.

“I’m not saying this is impossible but it is difficult because it is linked to political issues which requires a public relations effort with member countries” IMF deputy director of the Middle East and Central Asia department Edward Gemayel said during a visit to Khartoum. He pointed out that any debt relief deal with Sudan would require the unanimous consent of all 55 countries in Paris Club which he suggested would be improbable.

Khartoum and Juba have agreed to work jointly to seek debt relief from creditors and if that fails will sit down to see how it can be divided.

RETRIEVED: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article48728

Africa: Investment in Infrastructure Can Boost Trade in Africa, Finance Ministers Assert

6 Nov

Speaking to reporters during the IMF-World Bank Annual meetings in Washington, D.C., African finance ministers stressed that Africa needs to strengthen the implementation of structural reforms in order to maintain the annual average growth of around 5 percent over the past few years and significantly reduce poverty.

Ministers also emphasized that current developments in the world economy affected Africa’s growth. “We are concerned that the increased downside risks to the global economy will impact negatively on Africa’s trade flows and financing opportunities. We are also worried about the uncertainty regarding the unwinding of unconventional monetary policies, and the threat of potentially devastating budgetary challenges in the United States, which, if left unaddressed, could derail the fragile recovery we experienced last year across the world,” said Amara Konneh, Minister of Finance, Liberia.

Looking at the medium-term, ministers also noted the significant efforts African countries have made to improve human capital through education and training with the aim of reducing poverty. However, they also acknowledge much more needed to be done. “We have noted the weaknesses of our education system. Professional education is not up to par. Our education system needs to be reformed in order to meet the requirements of our economy and the requirements and demands of our society”, said Luc Oyoubi, Finance Minister of Gabon

Armando Manuel, Finance Minister of Angola, told reporters that as part of its national development agenda, Angola has implemented a training plan for its civil servants. “There is a new strategy in place because Angola has understood that the wealth of a country cannot only be measured by its natural resources, but also by its human capital. And this is a challenge the country is taking on–to form the skilled workers to achieve the objectives of economic development,” said Manuel.

Luc Oyoubi, Minister of Economy of Gabon and Daniel Kablan Duncan, Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Cote d’Ivoire, also said they intended for their countries to become emerging markets by 2015 and 2020, respectively

Reforming the Infrastructure Deficit

In addition, ministers stressed the importance of addressing Africa’s infrastructure deficit. Konneh said the continent needed aggressive infrastructure projects to unleash its growth potential. “It is worth repeating here that the ability to travel from one side of our country to another side, and from one country to another, is almost a fundamental right; that the ability to travel between countries is necessary for trade, for business, and for sharing of knowledge and innovation,” said Konneh, the Liberian minister.

RETRIEVED: http://allafrica.com/stories/201311050389.html

IMF concludes seventh ECF review in Burkina Faso

6 Nov

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it has concluded the seventh review of programmes supported by the Extended Credit Facility (EFC) arrangement in Burkina Faso.

The IMF mission was in Ouagadougou between Oct. 17 and 30 during which it met with critical stakeholders in the economy. Leader of the team, Laura Redifer said in a report at the end of the mission that Burkina Faso’s economic performance remained strong.

“For 2014 and the medium term, projections for GDP growth remain around seventh per cent while inflation should remain subdued at about two per cent. She said that acceleration of public investment, good weather, and more favourable export conditions would result in higher growth.

Redifer said that projections for economic activity in 2013 had been slightly lowered to 6.8 per cent. “The Factors behind the reduction include lower international gold and cotton prices, fall in public investment projection and global economic developments.

“The reduction in growth projections would have been higher but the government took measures to improve resilience and productivity in agriculture,’’ she said.

According to her, inflation in Burkina Faso has declined sharply in 2013 due to lower food prices compared to most part of 2012. “It is expected to average 2.0 per cent for the year. External balances are expected to deteriorate somewhat in 2013 as a result of unfavourable terms of trade.

“Revenue collection in the first half of 2013 was broadly in line with expectations, despite lower revenues from gold production,’’ she said. The IMF official said that new measures taken by the government to address spending bottlenecks were expected to accelerate investment spending in 2014 and beyond.

“For the medium term, the overall budget deficit is projected to be about three per cent of GDP. Regarding the external sector, the current account deficit is likely to worsen.

“This is as a result of a slow recovery in the terms of trade and imports needed to support the government’s ambitious investment programme,’’ Redifer said.

She said that the quantitative targets for the seventh review of the current IMF-supported programme were mostly met by Burkina Faso.

RETRIEVED: http://businessdayonline.com/2013/11/imf-concludes-seventh-ecf-review-in-burkina-faso/