Press Release: IMF Staff Statement on Angola

April 27, 2004

The following International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff statement was issued today in Luanda:

"A staff team from the International Monetary Fund visited Luanda during April 15-27, 2004. The mission's objective was to assess the extent to which concerns over macroeconomic data compilation and data provision to the Fund, as well as the sharing with staff of key economic policy information, were being addressed by the Angolan authorities. The mission thanks the authorities for their collaboration and provision of a substantial amount of up-to-date sectoral and macroeconomic data, as well as information on critical policy areas, including plans for the publication/dissemination of macroeconomic statistics and relevant economic studies on Angola.

"The mission stressed, and the Angolan authorities agreed, that timely and consistent economic data were vital for the policymaking, as well as for improving transparency in the management of public resources. In this regard, utmost effort was placed in evaluating the financial positions and the financial relationships among the Treasury, the Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA), and the national oil company (Sonangol). The mission also sought to update the staff's information on specific sectoral and structural policies in the government's draft Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), which was recently shared for comments with the international financial community.

"The mission's conclusion is that much progress has been accomplished in recent months regarding the timely and regular compilation of key macroeconomic data, including information on Sonangol's quasifiscal operations and tax offsets with the Treasury. The mission appreciates the authorities' readiness to share with staff some critical financial information on the current and prospective management of oil revenues. In this context, it reiterated the Fund's commitment to support the Angolan authorities' capacity-building efforts in the areas of data compilation and macroeconomic statistics.

"The mission welcomes the recent efforts by the BNA to improve the compilation of external debt statistics using the debt management and financial analysis system software (DMFAS). Compilation of external debt stocks by source and creditor, including the debt service profile and arrears outstanding, is almost completed. Also, the statistical discrepancy between stock and flow data on Angola's external debt has been substantially reduced. Further, the reconciliation of the official external debt figures, prepared by the BNA, with those reported by Angola's creditors is now ongoing. The compilation of accurate external debt statistics should permit the implementation of debt sustainability analysis as a key input for economic policymaking.

"The mission's view is that the progress achieved in the compilation of timely macroeconomic statistics, especially external debt data, needs to be consolidated in a number of fronts. First, there is a need to continue improving the flow of timely information among data compilers, including the financial operations surrounding Sonangol's servicing of the external public debt. Second, widespread data dissemination and publication should be used as a key instrument to secure the production of accurate information. Third, there is an urgent need to develop and retain qualified human resources. In this regard, the Ministry of Finance's plans to upgrade its technical team using DMFAS for fiscal analysis is most welcome.

"Upon returning to Washington, the mission will brief and consult with the IMF Management about the mission's findings. A staff team is currently scheduled to return to Luanda in early June to conduct the 2004 Article IV consultation discussions with Angola."


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