By Dipo Olowookere
Following discussions held between IMF staff and the Ivoirian authorities during the 2016 Annual Meetings in Washington, a staff-level agreement was reached on a three-year program that could be supported by two arrangements under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for SDR 487.8 million (about USD 674.3 million) or 75 percent of Côte d’Ivoire’s quota in the IMF. Subject to IMF management approval, the staff-level agreement is expected to be submitted to the IMF Executive Board for its consideration in December 2016.
At the conclusion of the meetings, Mr Dan Ghura, mission chief for Côte d’Ivoire said, “The program will support the broad objectives of Côte d’Ivoire’s 2016‑2020 National Development Plan (NDP) by addressing impediments to a sustainable balance of payments position and economic growth.
“The NDP aims to foster conditions for continued strong and inclusive growth and poverty reduction through investment in infrastructure and social sectors, as well as the structural transformation and industrialization of the economy by the private sector.
“The government’s budget deficit would converge to the WAEMU norm of 3 percent of GDP by 2019 to preserve public debt sustainability and support the regional international reserves pool. To this end, key program objectives are to contain current expenditure and mobilize additional revenues through broadening the tax base and further improving tax administration.
“The program includes a comprehensive set of reforms aimed at enhancing public financial and debt management practices, which include: strengthening debt management; expanding the monitoring of public entities beyond the central government; containing fiscal risks emanating from some public enterprises in financial difficulty; restructuring public banks; and improving the business climate. The staff welcomes the authorities’ request for further technical assistance to support their efforts to improve the quality and dissemination of economic statistics.
“With the implementation of these policies, Côte d’Ivoire will create fiscal space for more infrastructure investment and social spending, catalyze official and private financing, and build resilience to future economic shocks. Overall, this program will help the government continue building on the impressive achievements of the past four years and further strengthen the foundations for strong and inclusive growth and poverty reduction.”