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Business News of Monday, 6 April 2020

Source: Class FM

IMF approves US$152.43m for Togo & Sierra Leone, Ghana's application still pending

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The International Monetary Fund has approved a total of US$152.43 million for Ghana’s West African neighbours, Togo and Sierra Leone as Extended Credit Facility to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Togo received US$152.43 million whilst Sierra Leone received US21.13 million.

Ghana's application is however still pending.

According to a statement from the Fund, the augmentation of access will help the authorities address the human and economic implications of COVID-19 pandemic.

It said after three years of implementation of the Fund-supported program, the performance has been satisfactory in most sectors; reforms encountered delays in the financial sector.

Togo’s three-year arrangement of SDR 176.16 million (about US$239.3 million, 120% of Togo’s quota) was approved on May 5, 2017.

In completing the sixth review, the Executive Board also approved the authorities’ request for an augmentation of access under the ECF arrangement of 48.7% of Togo’s quota (SDR 71.49 million or about US$97.1 million) to address the urgent financing need stemming from the authorities’ efforts and plans to control the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its economic impacts.

Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, made the following statement:

“Togo’s performance under the ECF-supported program has been broadly satisfactory. While the economic recovery was firming up, it has recently been hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The macroeconomic outlook is subject to a high degree of uncertainty.”

For Sierra Leone, the Fund said the government’s reform agenda, supported by the ECF, aims to create fiscal space for development needs by strengthening revenue mobilization, containing current spending and improving the efficiency of public investment.

In the critical and uncertain period ahead, the Fund said it is committed to working closely with the government to help address the priority health and economic needs to combat the fallout of the COVID?19 pandemic.

Geoffrey Okamoto, Acting Chair and First Deputy Managing Director, said “Sierra Leone continued to make good progress under the Fund?supported program. The authorities have demonstrated firm commitment to their reform agenda.

“While the program’s medium?term goals remain appropriate to enable future growth and development, the dramatic onset of the global COVID?19 pandemic poses significant near?term risks. Combating the economic fallout of the crisis and protecting the health of Sierra Leoneans should be the immediate priority.

“The authorities’ cautious fiscal policy has been important. They have made commendable progress in mobilizing domestic revenue and prudent execution of budgeted expenditures. This has stabilized domestic borrowing needs and allowed inflation pressures to ease.”

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