2018/11/12 – On December 10, 2018, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the third review of Niger’s economic and financial program supported under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) framework. The completion of the review enables the disbursement of SDR14.1 million (about US$19.5 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR56.4 million (about US$78.1 million).
The Executive Board also approved the authorities’ request for a waiver of the nonobservance of the performance criterion on domestic payments arrears clearance.
Niger’s three-year arrangement was approved on January 23, 2017 for SDR 98.7 million (about US$134.04 million) in support of the authorities’ national plan for economic development. It aims to enhance macroeconomic stability and foster high and equitable growth, boost incomes and create jobs, while strengthening the foundations for sustainable development. Due to unforeseen financing gaps that arise from security situation, struggling uranium sector and food security needs IMF Executive Board agreed to increase the overall amount of the ECF to SDR 118.44 million (about US$164.1 million, or 90 percent of Niger quota).
Following the Executive Board’s discussion on Niger, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, issued the following statement:
“Niger’s overall performance in the first half of 2018 under the ECF-supported program was satisfactory, with strong revenues and a lower than projected fiscal deficit. The implementation of the structural reform agenda also progressed well.
“The program for 2019 is based on a realistic draft budget and macroeconomic framework. Measures to mobilize domestic revenue and improve the quality of expenditure while emphasizing social spending will support the move toward achieving the WAEMU convergence criterion for the budget deficit in 2020. The authorities are committed to eliminating all arrears by the end of the year and avoiding new ones in 2019.
“Niger’s medium-term prospects are encouraging, as several large-scale projects should help raise economic growth over the medium term. It will be important to secure adequate local content and a fair fiscal contribution from these projects. The program of structural reforms aimed at building a more robust private sector and promoting financial inclusion has a pivotal role to play in this regard. State-owned enterprise reform and efforts to strengthen governance and anti-corruption measures will also be crucial. Sustained attention to gender issues and to addressing demographic objectives will be important for longer-term development.
“The continued vigilance on debt accumulation and the priority put on concessional borrowing has helped Niger maintain a “moderate” rating for risk of public debt distress. Strengthening and diversifying exports will help reduce vulnerability to commodity price shocks.”
IMF / Sahel-Elite Photo: M. Mehmet Cangul , Représentant résident du Fonds Monétaire International (FMI) au Niger (Photographe: DR)