IMF Concludes Review on Gambia’s Economic Performance

Friday, September 7, 2007

Approves US$3.1 Million Disbursement

The executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has completed the first review of Gambia’s economic performance under a programme supported by a three-year poverty reduction and growth facility (PRGF) arrangement.

At the end of the review, the IMF board approved the authority’s request for waivers on non-observance of two structural performance criteria pertaining to the submission of an audit report on monetary data and the implementation of the Central Project Management and Aid Coordination Directorate, and one quantitative performance criterion relating to the non-accumulation of external payment arrears.

The board acknowledged what it termed the significant achievement that the government of the Gambia has registered and, upon completion of the first review, approved an amount equivalent to SDR 2 million (about US$ 3.1 million).

Following the executive board’s discussion of the Gambia’s economic performance, Mr. Murilo Portugal, deputy Managing Director and acting Chair, said the Gambia has made good progress towards macro-economic stability and higher economic growth, describing the performance under the PRGF-supported programme as very strong. “The government is committed to maintaining price stability and increasing the effectiveness of monetary policy. To this end, steps are under way to strengthen the operational independence of the Central Bank of the Gambia’s lending to the government within the coordination of fiscal and monetary operations in order to enhance the effectiveness of the bank’s liquidity management,” Mr Portugal added.
According to him, the authorities have made good progress towards reaching the completion point under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative. He added that reaching the completion point would also make The Gambia eligible for assistance under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative.

“In order to ensure that debt relief moves the country’s external debt to a sustainable path, the authorities intend to rely as much as possible on grants rather than external loans to finance their development,” he stated.
The IMF Managing Director revealed that the government is seeking to curtail its domestic borrowing requirement in order to keep real interest rates down and stimulate private investment.

To this end, he went on “it will continue to strengthen the tax administration, fully implement the Integrated Financial Management Information Systems that has been crucial in keeping expenditures in line with appropriations, and avoid extra-budgetary spending”.

Author: By Baboucarr Senghore
Source: The Point