The International Monetary Fund (IMF) after its first Economic performance review has rated Sierra Leone Economic Performance under the New Direction highly and this will see the country benefiting from grant in the coming months.
It could be recalled that on 23rd April this year a team led by Dr. Karen Ongley as Mission Chief from the IMF commenced the first Economic performance review of Sierra Leone under the New Direction and the newly agreed programme.
During the review, the mission assessed a number of quantitative targets and structural benchmarks, which the Government of Sierra Leone agreed to implement during the restoration of the IMF programme in September, 2018.
The completion of the review and the IMF board meeting that is expected to hold around 24th June, 2019 will trigger immediate disbursement of Budget Support Credit of USS$21.5 million and cumulative by other donors will amount to US$85.0 million by end December 2019; all grant resources.
According to the Mission Chief, the country’s economy is stable amidst the challenges of debt and other arrears the government is battling with noting that economic momentum is building up in 2019, with the resumption of iron ore and new investments in the non-miming economy, real GDP is expected to grow by 5.1 percent, while inflation is projected to decline to 14 percent this 2019.
The Review further reveals that nine out of ten quantitative targets were met, three of the five structural benchmarks delay as the underlying issues are proving to be more complexed than anticipated.
“The mission is satisfied with the progress made so and expecting significant progress to be made in other to achieve the remaining benchmarks before the IMF board meeting in June,” she said.
Dr. Karen after a brief courtesy meeting with the Vice President of Sierra Leone Dr. Juldeh Jalloh, expressed satisfaction at the level of commitment from the government and the demonstration of strong political will to achieve the reforms that will not only stabilize the economy but also put it the trajectory of growth.
The Minister of Finance Jacob Jusu Saffa states that from the out of the review, he is optimistic that IMF board will approve the report from the mission and the disbursement will be made, he stressed that having a successful economic programme with the IMF will earn Sierra Leone high international reputation and this will attract more development partners and private sector investors to the Country.
Speaking on how these economic progresses will impact on Ordinary Sierra Leoneans, the Minister stated that as a nation, Sierra Leone needs to have sound macroeconomic policies and stability to attract credible investors in the private sector that can create more jobs and opportunities for the people.
“You have to get it right, growth is projected to increase and it is that growth that spans out. Generally, when you inherit a collapse economy the starting point is the macro and later spread the growth the micro that people refer to as bread and butter,” the Minister said.
He highlighted other areas in the economy like fisheries, agriculture, and tourism that the government is working on implementing pro poor programmes to help reduce the level over poverty in the country.
Over the past two weeks, the Financial Secretary Sahr L. Jusu and team at the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Sierra Leone, National Revenue Authority and other agencies were fully engaged in providing the date to have a successful economic Performance review.