Tanzania: IMF impressed by Côte d'Ivoire's ambitious financial sector reforms

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - Encouraging authorities in Côte d’Ivoire to continue pursuing ambitious reforms to strengthen the financial sector, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday approved a US$67.7 million disbursement to the West African country under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement.

Financing under the ECF currently carries a zero interest rate, with a grace period of 5.5 years, and a final maturity of 10 years.

According to the Fund's Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Côte d’Ivoire’s economic performance over the course of the arrangement with the Fund has been impressive.

He made the remark as the Board completed the eighth and last review for Côte d’Ivoire under the ECF, approved on 4 November 2011, with the aim of restoring a sustainable fiscal and external position, while achieving high growth and reducing poverty.

"Macroeconomic stability has been restored and strong growth over the last four years has lifted real per capita income by some 20 per cent. The fiscal position has also strengthened, while needed infrastructure and pro-poor spending have increased. As a result, poverty has declined but remains high," Mr Furusawa said.

“Programme implementation has continued to be strong this year," he affirmed, noting that all end-June performance criteria and indicative targets were met.

However, the country's progress in structural reform has been mixed. Four of the seven structural benchmarks under the eighth review were met, while three others were being implemented with minor delays.

Going by the IMF assessment, Côte d’Ivoire’s near-term macroeconomic outlook remains favourable, with real GDP growth projected to remain strong.

"The 2016 draft budget goes some way toward further strengthening the fiscal position, but more ambitious consolidation going forward, including by streamlining tax exemptions, would help address emerging fiscal risks and make room for needed social programmes," Mr. Furusawa suggested.

"Additional steps to improve public finance and debt management would also boost the policy framework.

“The authorities should continue to pursue ambitious reforms to strengthen the financial sector, improve the business climate, and foster private activity and economic diversification. Improving the provision of statistics, beginning with national accounts, should also remain an important priority,” he added.
-0- PANA AR/MA 10Dec2015

10 december 2015 07:25:42

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