Statement at the Conclusion of an IMF Mission to NigerPress Release No. 10/369
September 30, 2010
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Ms. Laurence Allain visited the Republic of Niger from September 15-30, 2010, to hold discussions regarding the fourth and fifth reviews of the country’s economic program supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The mission met with the Prime Minister, His Excellency Mahamadou Danda, the Minister of Economy and Finance, His Excellency Mamane Malam Annou, the National Director of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), M. Mahamadou Gado, as well as with other senior government and central bank officials. The mission also met with civil society representatives.
Ms. Allain issued the following statement today in Niamey at the conclusion of the mission:
“The mission notes that Niger’s economy has been affected by several important shocks in 2010, beginning with a shortfall of external financing in the wake of the political crisis that started in mid-2009; then a food crisis resulting from the poor 2009/2010 agricultural performance; and finally, floods which occurred in August. However, the successful implementation of the Support Plan for Vulnerable Populations mitigated the impact of the crisis on the population. Despite the slowdown in non-agricultural production, the expected good outcome of the harvest now underway and the gradual resumption of external financing in the second half of the year have markedly improved the outlook for 2010 and 2011.
“Given the difficult circumstances, the mission welcomes a broadly satisfactory implementation of the program and the achievement of most quantitative program targets as of end-December 2009 and end-June 2010. In particular, revenues largely exceeded program targets, and public expenditure was prudently managed. The government of Niger intends to make up for the delays in the implementation of their structural reforms, mainly in the areas of external debt management and monitoring and quality of budget execution. The mission commends the government’s commitment to speed up the execution of poverty reduction spending, and discussed measures that would increase budget expenditure toward that end.
“A number of important mining and oil projects about to come on stream potentially offer Niger new growth opportunities and, eventually, a substantial increase in budget revenue, but also entail significant financial risks. The mission takes note of the government’s decision to participate directly in these projects through equity stakes in the companies developing them. The mission and the government agreed on the need for a thorough assessment of the financial and economic viability of these projects, and their impact on the medium-term outlook and debt sustainability. Discussions on these issues as well as the main aggregates of the 2011 Finance Law will continue in October in Washington.
“The mission wishes to thank the authorities for their warm hospitality, their availability and the high quality of the discussions.”