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The following item is a Letter of Intent of the government of Kenya, which describes the policies that Kenya intends to implement in the context of its request for financial support from the IMF. The document, which is the property of Kenya, is being made available on the IMF website by agreement with the member as a service to users of the IMF website.
 

Nairobi, September 27, 2000

Mr. Horst Köhler
Managing Director
International Monetary Fund
Washington, D.C. 20431

Dear Mr. Köhler,

1.  The intense drought affecting Kenya has had a more severe impact than had been envisaged at the time of the preparation of the interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. The need to address the impact of the drought has considerably affected government finances and Kenya’s balance of payments in the fiscal year 2000/01 (July-June), even after consideration of important contributions from donors who have responded to the government’s drought relief appeal. In this context, the Government of Kenya requests amendments to the quantitative performance criteria and benchmarks of the program for 2000/01 (Table 1) as well as an augmentation of access under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility supported program equivalent to SDR 40 million. The Government of Kenya remains committed in all other respects to the policies outlined in the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies dated July 12, 2000.

2.  The failure of the long rains (March-May) in 2000 in most of the country has compounded the effects of the recurring droughts of the past several years. Moreover, the current drought is among the most severe the country has experienced in living memory. Widespread food, water, and power shortages have raised the specter of famine and other adversities, particularly among farmers in marginal agricultural areas, pastoralists, and agro-pastoralists. Agricultural output has been significantly reduced, and cattle and other stock have moved from pastoral areas into farming areas and forests, creating the spread of contagious diseases, with related losses and veterinary costs. Large segments of the pastoral population have lost, or are about to lose their livestock because of the impact of adverse weather conditions on grazing areas. Although the extent of adverse effects of the drought is still uncertain, it is now estimated that 4.7 million Kenyans1 (16 percent of the total population) face severe life-threatening conditions. Malnutrition and the significant impact of dysenteric diseases and malaria exacerbate the human health problems, and other afflictions such as Kalazar are now being seen countrywide. In addition, the dropout rate from school has considerably increased and an enhanced feeding program is needed in the primary and secondary schools.

3.  In this context, the Government launched an appeal to the international community for assistance in July 2000, and has been collaborating since then closely with UN relief agencies, the International Development Association (IDA), donors, and nongovernmental organizations to evaluate the full impact of the drought and to deal with the emergency situation. This effort focuses on the provision of food, health and water/sanitation services, veterinary services, the purchase from the vulnerable pastoral population of livestock that would otherwise die as a result of the drought, the provision of appropriate seeds to farmers, and temporary leasing of emergency electricity generators. In view of the still unfolding nature of the drought and the uncertain outlook for the short rains (October-November), the government, with the assistance of UN relief agencies and donors, will keep the situation under close review. The government has shared its drought relief plans with UN agencies and donors participating in this endeavor to help facilitate the monitoring of service delivery. In particular, the World Food Program (WFP) is coordinating the food relief effort, in collaboration with nongovernment organizations.

4.  The macroeconomic implications of the ongoing drought are expected to be considerable in 2000/01. The failure of the long rains is estimated to have reduced agricultural food production by some 25 percent in 2000, and agricultural exports such as tea and horticulture are projected to fall by 7 percent and 4 percent, respectively. These developments, combined with the increased cost of inputs emanating from shortages in electricity and agricultural production, have weakened the manufacturing and the services sectors, with negative ripple effects on overall economic activity. In June-July 2000, electricity generation, which is 70 percent hydro-based, was 25-30 percent below the historical average, resulting in the imposition of power rationing. To help alleviate such rationing and thus lead to some rebound in economic activity, an emergency power supply project loan (financed by an IDA credit of US$72 million and the European Investment Bank, US$3 million) and, together with other measures, should raise electricity generation close to the level of peak demand by November 2000. For 2000/01, real GDP growth is now projected at 0.5 percent, compared with 2.3 percent under the original program. However, excluding the unforeseen 50 percent increase in coffee production, the picture is even worse. The 12-month rate of consumer price inflation, which rose from 4 percent in April 2000 to about 7 percent in July owing mainly to increases in food and fuel prices, is likely to moderate in the coming months, as food relief becomes available. Finally, on the labor market side, a considerable number of enterprises have reduced their personnel as a consequence of power rationing and the decline in domestic demand caused by lower incomes.

5.  The revised overall fiscal deficit in 2000/01 (on a commitment basis and excluding grants) is projected to reach 5.8 percent of revised GDP, 4.1 percentage points of GDP higher than in the program2, owing to lower revenue and higher expenditure associated with the drought relief effort. Lower-than-programmed real GDP growth is projected to reduce revenue by 0.9 percent of GDP relative to the program. Corporate income tax collections are forecast to weaken because of lower domestic demand and higher input costs, while personal income tax collections will suffer because of layoffs. Depressed demand for domestically produced goods as well as non-drought related imports are projected to reduce collections from the VAT, excise and import taxes. Although tax administration efforts will not weaken, measures in this area under the program are now expected to yield less revenue, especially arrears collection, given the worsened financial position of private sector firms.

6.  Drought-related outlays would raise the ratio of expenditure-to-GDP by 3.2 percent relative to the program. The additional outlays include food relief and associated costs, as well as feeding programs for primary and secondary school children whose families have been adversely affected by the drought and other educational support (2.1 percent of GDP); livestock disease control and the purchase of livestock for slaughter from pastoralists (0.1 percent); the distribution of seeds to farmers and extension services (0.1 percent); health services (such as vaccines, drugs, and support for hospitals and clinics) (0.1 percent); water supply and sanitation services (including the drilling of wells and transportation of water) (0.1 percent); and the subsidy to cover the differential cost of hydro- and fuel-power generation that is envisaged under the emergency power supply mentioned above (0.8 percent). The program continues to provide for a margin of K Sh 4 billion (0.5 percent of GDP) in higher social expenditure provided that additional concessional foreign financing becomes available. Drought-related outlays over and above those described in this paragraph will be considered within this margin; however, the government will save any unspent drought-related resources3.

7.  Given the need to avoid increasing domestic debt relative to the program, so as to keep downward pressure on real interest rates, the Government’s increased financing requirement resulting from the drought will need to be covered by additional foreign financing.

8.  Monetary policy will continue to be focused on keeping inflationary pressures under control and building up the level of foreign reserves. The targets for the net foreign assets of the Central Bank Kenya (CBK), however, will be reduced to the extent of the augmentation of access under the PRGF arrangement. The ceiling on net domestic assets of the CBK will be correspondingly raised to allow for additional financing to the Government in order to cover part of the drought relief related costs. A downward adjustment will be made to the net domestic assets of the CBK to offset the liquidity impact that will be caused by a reduction of the minimum monthly average cash reserve ratio for commercial banks and nonbank financial institutions, from 12 percent to 10 percent, effective October 1, 2000. The change in reserve requirements is aimed at creating the conditions for a reduction in the spread between deposit and lending rates. In practice, the liquidity impact of this change will be offset by repurchase agreements with commercial banks, and hence any easing of monetary policy will be avoided. The CBK will continue to maintain exchange rate flexibility, with intervention in the exchange markets being guided by the need to meet the net foreign assets targets under the program.

9.  The external current account deficit is now projected to reach 7.2 percent of GDP in 2000 and 9.8 percent in 2001, compared with 4.6 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively, under the program. This reflects lower exports, particularly tea and horticultural products, and higher imports of food, fuel and energy equipment. After taking into account the emergency power supply project credit (US$75 million) and food and other relief from UN agencies and donors (US$57.2 million), the overall balance of payments for 2000/01 is projected to show a financing gap of about US$452 million. The requested augmentation of access under the PRGF arrangement would cover some US$52 million, and to close the remaining gap, Kenya intends to seek a rescheduling from the Paris Club creditors of its eligible external arrears and debt service falling due in 2000/01. The need to start addressing the drought-related relief and the timing of the Paris Club meeting for November 2000 have put pressures on government finances, causing the accumulation of arrears on external debt service. This has led to the nonobservance of the continuous performance criterion on the stock of external arrears, and therefore we request a waiver for such nonobservance. The financing needs described above will result in a further accumulation of external arrears before the envisaged rescheduling of debt service under the Paris Club takes place. In these circumstances, the outstanding stock of external arrears will be about US$242 million by the end of September 2000, and will be eliminated by end of December 2000, as envisaged under the original program. In the meantime, the Government remains committed to servicing multilateral debt as scheduled, and, in the case of government-guaranteed debt service that is expected to be rescheduled or deferred, it will require that parastatals make payments in full to the government, as per original schedule. No external payment arrears will be incurred after the envisaged rescheduling of debt service under the Paris Club.

10.  In view of the still uncertain rain forecast, it would seem premature to modify the medium-term outlook. The government would propose that consideration of Kenya’s medium-term outlook be assessed in the context of the first review under the program, when information on the short rains and more reliable data on the long rains would be available.

Very truly yours,

 

/s/
Micah Cheserem
Governor
Central Bank of Kenya
  /s/
Chrysanthus Barnabas Okemo,
EHG MP
Minister of Finance


Table 1. Kenya: Financial and Structural Performance Criteria and Benchmarks Under the First Year Program, July 2000-June 2001
(In millions of Kenya shillings, unless otherwise indicated)
  2000
  2001
Mar. 31
Act.
  Sep. 30
Dec. 31
  Mar. 31
  Jun. 30
Original 
Prog.
Revised 
Prog.
Original 
Prog.
Revised 
Prog.
Original 
Prog.
Revised 
Prog.
Original 
Prog.
Revised 
Prog.

Financial performance criteria
and benchmarks1
Performance criteria                          
 
   Net domestic assets of the
      Central Bank of Kenya (CBK)2,6
. . .   25,900 25,900   26,200 20,600   22,500 18,900   18,800 15,200
   Net foreign assets of the CBK 3,6 43,952   44,925 44,925   49,125 49,225   52,125 50,225   57,725 55,825
   Overall fiscal deficit2,6 . . .   3,900 12,543   9,400 29,829   14,300 46,195   12,700 47,135
   Stock of external payment arrears
      (in millions of U.S. dollars)2,4
100   35 242   0 0   0 0   0 0
   Contracting or guaranteeing
      nonconcessional external
      debt2,7,8
. . .   0 0   0 0   0 0   0 0
   Short-term external debt2,7,8 . . .   0 0   0 0   0 0   0 0
                           
Benchmarks                          
   Stock of pending bills2,5 . . .   1,722 1,722   0 0   0 0   0 0
                           
Memorandum items:                          
Programmed external budgetary
      support (cumulative)
. . .   8,503 11,582   22,005 33,447   31,894 43,994   39,768 52,526
   Of which: nonproject support . . .   5,002 5,002   14,448 14,448   19,345 19,345   21,991 21,991
Nonbank net holdings of
      government debt
74,259   71,902 82,048   75,651 84,238   81,188 89,712   74,486 83,026
Food relief expenditures
      (cumulative)
    3,593     9,012     14,681     17,002
Pivatization receipts . . .   0 0   0 0   7,572 7,572   7,572 7,572
Program exchange rate
      (U.S. dollar per Kenya shilling)
74.8   74.8 74.8   74.8 74.8   74.8 74.8   74.8 74.8

1Performance criteria apply to end-September 2000, end-December 2000 and end-June 2001; for end-March 2001, these are benchmarks.
2Ceiling.
3Floor.
4In addition, there is a continuous performance criterion on the non-accumulation of new external arrears on payments on debts that are not expected to be considered for rescheduling by Paris Club creditors or other official bilateral creditors.
5Excludes about K Sh 5,500 million in pending bills disputed by the government.
6To the extent that any drought related resources remain unspent the ceilings for the overall fiscal deficit and the net domestic assets of the CBK will be adjusted downward by the same amount, and the floors on net foreign assets of the CBK will be adjusted correspondingly upwards.
7Continuous
8This performance criterion applies to external debt as defined in the amendments to the technical memorandum of understanding, attached to this letter.
 


1The number of people at risk was originally estimated at 3.3 million in May 2000. However, poor harvests in regions where the long rain season lasts longer have since led to a revision of this figure.
2K Sh 1.7 billion has been reclassified from revenue to project loans.
3To the extent that any drought related resources remain unspent the ceilings on the overall fiscal deficit and the net domestic assets of the CBK will be adjusted downward by the same amount, and the floors on net foreign assets of the CBK will be adjusted correspondingly upwards.

 

ATTACHMENT

INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND

KENYA

Amendments to the Technical Memorandum of Understanding (TMU)

(September 27, 2000)

1.  This memorandum contains amendments to the definitions of the quantitative performance criteria and benchmarks contained in the original TMU annexed to EBS/00/138. The new definitions provided below supersede those contained in the original TMU. Except for the amendments described below, the definitions and adjustments of the quantitative performance criteria and benchmarks contained in the original TMU remain unchanged.

QUANTITATIVE PERFORMANCE CRITERIA AND BENCHMARKS

A.  Net Foreign Assets of the Central Bank of Kenya

2.  In addition to the adjustments described in the original TMU, the net foreign asset floors will also be adjusted upward for the full amount of any unspent allocations to food relief relative to the amounts specified in Table 1 of the Letter of Intent.

B.  Net Domestic Assets of the Central Bank of Kenya

3.  In addition to the adjustments described in the original TMU, the ceilings on the net domestic assets will be adjusted downward for the full amount of any unspent allocations to food relief relative to the amounts specified in Table 1 of the Letter of Intent.

4.  The ceiling on the net domestic assets will be adjusted downward (upward) by 12 percent of the excess (shortfall) in the holdings of government debt instruments by the nonbank public over the programmed amount of K Sh 82,048 million on September 30, 2000. The ceilings on the net domestic assets will be adjusted downward (upward) by 10 percent of the excess (shortfall) in the holdings of government debt instruments by the nonbank public over the programmed amounts K Sh 84,238 million on December 31, 2000; K Sh 89,712 million on March 31, 2001; and K Sh 83,026 on June 30, 2001.

C.  Nonconcessional External Debt Contracted or Guaranteed by the Central Government, Local Governments, or the Central Bank of Kenya
(Excluding Borrowing from the Fund)

5.  Nonconcessional external debt has the meaning set forth in point No. 9 of the Guidelines on Performance Criteria with Respect to Foreign Debt (Decision No. --, August 24, 2000). This performance criterion applies not only to debt as defined in that decision but also to commitments contracted or guaranteed for which value has not been received. Excluded from this Performance Criterion are debt rescheduling and debt reorganization, and domestically issued Kenya Shilling denominated treasury bills with maturity of less than a year and treasury bonds with maturity greater than a year. Nonconcessional external borrowing will be zero throughout 2000/01.

D.  Short-Term External Debt Contracted or Guaranteed by the Central Government, Local Governments, or the Central Bank of Kenya

6.  Short-term external debt with contractual maturity of one year or less, has the meaning set forth in point No. 9 of the Guidelines on Performance Criteria with Respect to Foreign Debt (Decision No. --, August 24, 2000). This performance criterion applies not only to debt as defined in that decision but also to commitments contracted or guaranteed for which value has not been received. Excluded from this Performance Criterion are normal trade-related credits, and domestically issued Kenya Shilling denominated treasury bills with maturity of less than a year. There will be no new short-term external debt throughout 2000/01.

E.  Adjustment to the Overall Fiscal Deficit of the Central Government

7.  The ceilings on the overall fiscal deficit will be adjusted upward by the excess in programmed social and drought-related expenditure (EPSDE), to the extent that it is fully financed by excess external budgetary support. The EPSDE is defined as the difference between actual and programmed social and drought-related expenditure. The adjustment will not exceed K Sh 1 billion by September 30, 2000, K Sh 2 billion by December 31, 2000, K Sh 3 billion by March 31, 2001, and K Sh 4 billion by June 30, 2001.

8.  In addition to the adjustments described in the original TMU, the revised ceilings on the overall fiscal deficit will be adjusted downward for the full amount of any unspent allocations to food relief relative to the amounts specified in Table 1 of the Letter of Intent.

Reporting requirement. Monthly audited expenditure on food relief will be transmitted to the African Department within three weeks of the end of each month.

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