|IMF praises Sierra Leone's Economic Reforms under President Koroma|
By Jara Mena Jara
On Monday September 26, 2016, the Chief of Mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), John Wakeman-Linn, paid President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma a visit at State House.
The purpose of the visit was to update the president on the outcome of the sixth and final review under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). This facility is a lending arrangement that provides sustained program engagement over the medium to long term in case of protracted balance of payments problems. The IMF Executive Board approved the arrangement for Sierra Leone in October 2013.
Following consultations and constructive discussions with the Sierra Leonean authorities, the IMF has in an end-of-mission press release described the economic reforms undertaken by the Government of Sierra Leone as largely on track and largely successful. "The economy proved resilient in the face of two major exogenous shocks: the Ebola epidemic and collapse of iron ore prices and associated loss of production in 2014 - 2015," the fund said in its press release issued on September 27, 2016.
It extolled the changes the government has implemented: "Prudent fiscal policy throughout the program contributed to the achievement of a relatively low fiscal deficit. Credible monetary policy contributed to price stability, bringing inflation down from over 20 percent at the beginning of the program to single digits, although in recent months it has begun to increase somewhat."
"The current account balance has strengthened. International reserves have risen to more than $500 million," the release added.
Amid concerns that the economy needs revamping after the Ebola epidemic, the IMF encouraged the government to put emphasis on price stability, while remaining attentive to second round pressures on prices. "Exchange rate and market policies should be transparently implemented," the fund urged.
Notwithstanding, the mission was pleased that all quantitative performance criteria for end-June 2016 were met and consequently, Sierra Leone's sixth and final review under the ECF arrangement is tentatively scheduled for consideration by the IMF Executive Board in November 2016.
Click on link to read Press Release :http://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2016/09/27/PR16428-Sierra-Leone-IMF-Staff-Completes-Review-Mission
Click on link to read story on the visit of the IMF Chief of Mission: http://www.statehouse.gov.sl/index.php/component/content/article/34-news-articles/1622-president-vows-to-stay-engaged-with-the-people
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