Statement by the IMF Staff Mission at the Conclusion of its Visit to TanzaniaPress Release No. 10/93
March 16, 2010
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Mr. David O. Robinson visited Tanzania from March 2-16, 2010 to conduct the seventh and final review under the Policy Support Instrument (PSI) and third and final review under the Exogenous Shock Facility, and to discuss the policy framework for a new three-year PSI-supported program. The mission met with Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Hon. Mustafa Mkulo; Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, Prof. Benno Ndulu; other senior government officials; private sector representatives; development partners; and members of civil society.
The mission issued the following statement in Dar es Salaam today:
“Macroeconomic policies including monetary and fiscal easing, supported by the Tanzanian government’s economic recovery plan, have helped mitigate the impact of the global crisis. A stronger than anticipated rebound in the global economy has helped offset the impact of disruptions from the regional drought, floods, and power outages, with the result that we have revised slightly upwards our growth forecasts for Tanzania to 5.5 percent in 2009 and to 6.2 percent in 2010. The recovery, however, remains nascent and growth has been concentrated in lightly-taxed sectors, causing government revenue collection to fall below targets in the budget.
“Inflation had been persistently high during 2009 largely due to supply shocks affecting food prices, but has now begun to abate and is expected to continue on a downward path, reaching around 8 percent by the end of the fiscal year.
“Looking forward, the macroeconomic policy framework will be guided by the new MKUKUTA/MKUZA. An extensive evaluation and consultation process is underway on both mainland and on Zanzibar. In order that the new strategy can deliver its objectives and serve as an effective guide to policy and resource allocation, it is imperative that the strategy carefully lays out priority sectors together with key policy interventions, consistent with a credible resource envelope.
“For the next fiscal year, fiscal and monetary policy must be carefully balanced to support the economic recovery, while at the same time gradually scaling back the fiscal stimulus injected in response to the global crisis. A modest improvement in revenue collection and the expiration of discretionary measures that were implemented at the height of the global crisis should narrow the fiscal deficit. However, recurrent spending has risen rapidly in recent years, and a careful examination of these expenditures could provide greater value for taxpayer money. Commitment control at both line Ministries and spending agencies should also be tightened to avoid arrears and ensure that budgets are implemented as intended.
“More generally, creating additional fiscal space to enable the desired scaling-up of infrastructure investment can be achieved through a combination of measures—increasing revenues, enhancing the efficiency of existing spending, as well as new financing. Accessing new financing sources—there are a range of possibilities, including Public Private Partnerships, syndicated loans, or Eurobonds—needs to be handled carefully and in the context of a strategy that comprehensively weighs the risks and returns.
“The banking system has weathered the global crisis well, reflecting the limited exposures to the toxic assets that drove the crisis and stepped up supervision by the Bank of Tanzania. However, the continued absence of a social security regulator is an important weakness in financial sector supervision.
“It is expected that the IMF’s Executive Board will discuss the reviews and consider a new three-year program before the end of May 2010.”