NIAMEY, Niger, April 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the second and third reviews of Niger’s economic performance under the program supported by a three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. The completion of these reviews enables an immediate disbursement of an amount equivalent to SDR 22.56 million (about US$34.9 million), bringing total disbursements under the ECF arrangement to an amount equivalent to SDR 45.12 million (US$69.9 million).
In completing the review, the Executive Board granted the authorities’ request for waivers for the nonobservance of the performance criteria on net domestic financing of the government at end-December 2012 and at end-June 2013 and on domestic arrears at end-December 2012. The Board also approved a request to extend the program until December 31, 2015 and the rephasing of the remaining disbursements under the current ECF arrangement. The ECF arrangement for Niger was approved on March 16, 2012 (see Press Release No. 12/90).
Following the Executive Board’s discussion, Mr. Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair issued the following statement:
“Niger’s recent economic performance has been adversely impacted by below average rainfall in the second half of 2013 and the deterioration in the security situation in the region. Looking forward, macroeconomic prospects appear broadly favorable, with oil and mining projects coming into the production phase after 2015.
“The authorities have shown strong commitment to their program supported under the Extended Credit Facility. Key corrective measures, including strengthened revenue collection, closer spending controls, and improvements to the debt management framework, have brought the program back on track after slippages at end-2012.
“Progress in the implementation of the structural reform agenda has been broadly satisfactory. The production of a comprehensive quarterly budget report and the limitation of exceptional expenditure are welcome. Efforts to move toward establishing a Treasury Single Account and prepare quarterly cash management will significantly improve budget execution. Further enhancing the debt management framework will be important to help ensure debt sustainability while investing in high-return infrastructure and social projects.
“Sound management of natural resources will be critical to ensure higher overall growth and faster poverty reduction. The authorities are encouraged to formulate a comprehensive strategy for the macroeconomic management of these resources. Stepping up efforts to complete the restructuring of the financial sector is also key to ensure that the financial system can support growth.
“Inaccurate data on public sector nonconcessional external debt had resulted in a noncomplying disbursement. In view of the corrective actions taken and planned to strengthen debt management and monitoring, the Executive Board decided to waive the nonobservance of the performance criterion that gave rise to the noncomplying disbursement.”