Washington, DC: An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team led by Mr. Oral Williams visited Bangui from February 22 to March 4, 2022, to discuss the first review of the Central African Republic’s staff-monitored program (SMP), which was approved in December 2021 .
At the end of the mission, Mr. Williams issued the following statement:
“The economy is showing signs of recovery with the reopening of the main trade corridor with Cameroon and the improvement in security. This has enabled an easing of supply bottlenecks and associated inflationary pressures. Efforts are ongoing to vaccinate the population against the COVID-19 pandemic to protect lives and safeguard livelihoods.
“The main risks to the outlook include a sustained uptick in international food and oil prices, limited progress on the various peace commitments, and uncertainties surrounding the disbursement of budget support. Recent efforts to reinvigorate the peace process under the ‘Republican dialogue’ are critical to consolidating security and sustaining growth.
“IMF staff and the Central African Republic authorities discussed the progress that has been made in the implementation of the SMP. To start with, the execution of the 2021 budget appears to be broadly in line with the SMP as key end-December budget targets were met.
“Progress was also made on the reform front. In particular, key structural benchmarks, notably: (i) the submission to parliament of the 2022 draft budget law; (ii) the issuance of ministerial orders governing compliance with tax obligations and electronic declarations for large taxpayers; and (iii) the submission to parliament of a new anti-corruption law were implemented.
“Beyond reform commitments under the SMP, the authorities are pursuing measures to improve treasury liquidity management by auditing and consolidating government accounts. This initiative is also being supported through capacity development from the IMF’s Regional Capacity Development Center in Gabon.
“Efforts to mitigate risks to the execution of the 2022 budget and to strengthen transparency, include: (i) ensuring that expenditures and commitments are kept within available funding; (ii) re-instating monthly meetings of the treasury committee with the participation of technical partners; (iii) conducting a Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability Assessment (PEFA).
“Reaching a consensus with development partners on the remainder of the budget support is critical to safeguarding pro-poor spending and the provision of public services.
“The team would like to express its deep appreciation to the authorities for their excellent collaboration, openness, and hospitality during the discussions.”
The IMF staff team met with President Touadéra, Prime Minister Moloua, President of the National Assembly Sarandji, Finance Minister Ndoba, Health Minister Somse, Mining Minister Benam-Beltoungou, BEAC National Director Chaïbou, other senior government officials, development partners, and representatives from the private sector.
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