News Brief: IMF Concludes Cameroon Midterm Review Under PRGF
June 7, 2000
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the midterm review of the third annual arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF).
At the conclusion of the Executive Board discussion on Cameroon's economic and structural reform program, Stanley Fischer, First Deputy Managing Director, stated:
"The Cameroonian authorities are to be commended for the record of macroeconomic and policy performance under their medium term program supported by the PRGF arrangement. Particularly noteworthy among the overall improvements in economic and financial conditions, are the achievement of sustained per capita GDP growth, the containment of inflation, the marked progress toward fiscal sustainability, the launching of an ambitious privatization program, and significant progress in the liberalization of the energy and transport sectors.
"However, poverty remains widespread in Cameroon, and to reduce it, the country needs to consolidate the gains made in recent years and establish a solid foundation for the next phase of reforms, with a view to achieving high quality growth combined with enhanced social development. To these ends, the authorities will need to continue to monitor closely the execution of the budget and ensure that the fiscal targets of the second half of the year are met. Non-oil revenue allocation efforts would need to be strengthened through measures to improve the customs and tax administration and combat fraud; and the government's plan to improve budgetary allocation, and strengthen expenditure management and control needs to be implemented rigorously. In the structural reform area, the authorities' efforts during the second half of this year will need to focus on consolidating and deepening the ongoing reforms in the public utilities and the agro-industrial and transportation sectors.
"Cameroon needs the enhanced HIPC assistance to alleviate its heavy external debt and achieve poverty reduction. A credible framework for the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) will play a key role in ensuring that HIPC assistance is used effectively. In particular, the strategies for the education and health sectors currently under preparation should be accompanied by well defined sectoral spending plans that ensure better targeting and improved efficiency of delivery of the additional services. It is also critical that the government proceed vigorously to tackle issues of governance based on a comprehensive strategy and to combat corruption," Fischer said.