IMF Staff Monitored Program (SMP)

An IMF Staff Monitored Program, or SMP, is an informal agreement between an IMF member country and IMF staff to monitor the member country’s economic program. Because the agreements are informal, they typically do not entail endorsement by the IMF Executive Board.

SMPs are used when an IMF member country is not yet able to implement an IMF-supported program. There are various reasons why this may be so. A country may have limited institutional capacity to implement policies. It may be experiencing domestic instability or lack assurances of financing. In such cases, SMPs can help a country establish a track record of policy implementation. A successful SMP can pave the way for an IMF financial arrangement or for the resumption of a financial arrangement that has gone off-track. In some cases, a successful SMP can pave the way for repeat use of emergency assistance.

SMPs can also be used to help heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) be considered for debt relief under the HIPC initiative. This is done under a process that requires the IMF Executive Board to assess a country’s success with the SMP over a minimum of six months. 

Although SMPs may provide signals to donors, creditors, and the public about the strength of a country’s economic policies, they are not intended solely for that purpose.

What is an IMF staff monitored program

SMP duration and features

SMP duration and features

SMPs last for a minimum of six months. They are not expected to exceed 18 months. The duration depends on a country’s previous track record and the measures needed to establish an adequate record of policy implementation. SMPs closely resemble IMF-supported programs. SMPs are based on a quantified macroeconomic framework with medium-term projections for the main economic and financial variables and quantitative and structural benchmarks on key policy targets.

Monitoring SMPs

The IMF staff monitors SMP progress on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. The IMF staff periodically reports on SMPs to the IMF Executive Board, typically in the context of the IMF’s regular surveillance of a country’s monetary and financial system and its economic and financial policies, known as Article IV consultations.

Monitoring SMPs

Program Monitoring with Board involvement

Program Monitoring with Board involvement (PMB)

Since September 2022 the IMF’s Executive Board can also assess the robustness of a country’s economic policies to meet its objectives and monitor implementation. The Program Monitoring with Board involvement (PMB) is designed to help countries considering an SMP establish a policy track record for an IMF-supported program. PMBs can benefit countries that are the subject of an ongoing concerted international effort by creditors or donors to provide substantial new financing or debt relief or have significant outstanding IMF credit under emergency financing instruments. The PMB will be reviewed before the end of September 2023.

The last update was in January 2023