Statement of the IMF Mission at the Conclusion of its Visit to MaliPress Release No. 10/147
April 13, 2010
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Mr. Xavier Maret, traveled to Mali from March 24 through April 6. The mission met with the Prime Minister, Mr. Modibo Sidibé, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Sanoussi Touré, the Minister of Budget, Mr. Lassiine Bouaré, and several other ministers, as well as senior officials of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) and representatives of the parliament, the private sector, the civil society, and the donor community. The mission held discussions for the 2010 Article IV consultation and the fourth review of the program supported by the Fund’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF).
At the conclusion of the mission, Mr. Maret issued the following statement in Bamako:
“Despite the global financial and economic crisis, the implementation of the Government’s economic and financial program in 2009 was broadly satisfactory. Growth was sustained at 4½ percent, inflation reduced to 2 percent, and the balance of payments improved markedly. These outcomes reflect the combination of a strong agricultural harvest, high gold export prices, and lower oil prices, as well as prudent macroeconomic policies. Mali also benefited from exceptional revenue linked to the privatization of the telecommunications parastatal SOTELMA (CFAF 180 billion, equivalent to US$400 million) and the SDR allocations of the IMF (CFAF 50 billion, or US$100 million). The overall budget deficit, on a commitment basis, was lower than expected, but the targeted reduction in pending bills and domestic arrears was not fully achieved. The Ministry of Economy and Finance is taking corrective measures to address this issue and prevent their recurrence.
“The 2010 economic outlook remains positive. The implementation of a prudent fiscal stimulus package, to be financed by part of SOTELMA’s privatization revenue and cast in a revised budget law, will support a rebound of economic activity in a stable macroeconomic context. In this context, the mission welcomed the authorities’ reaffirmation of limiting the new basic budget deficit (revenue minus expenditure, excluding foreign-financed capital expenditure) to no more than 2½ percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The revised budget law will also reflect recent government decisions on agricultural input subsidies and support to the cotton sector, with necessary adjustments to other budget appropriations to keep the basic deficit excluding spending financed by SOTELMA to its original target of 1 percent of GDP.
“The implementation of structural reforms continued to make good progress in 2009, notably with regards to the state enterprises and the strengthening of public finances. SOTELMA was successfully privatized; the housing bank BHM is being effectively restructured; and the reform of the cotton sector, including the privatization of the parastatal CMDT, is moving ahead. Work also continues apace in the strengthening of public financial management, and the mission looks forward to the finalization of the new reform program in this area, the PAGAM II.
“The discussions towards the fourth review of the program supported by the ECF have achieved significant progress. They should be concluded by end-April during the Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington D.C.
“The mission thanks the Malian authorities for their warm welcome and for the high quality of the discussions.”