Press Release: IMF Deputy Managing Director Murilo Portugal's Statement at the Conclusion of his Visit to Togo

September 2, 2008

Press Release No. 08/197

Mr. Murilo Portugal, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement yesterday after the conclusion of his visit to Togo during August 30-September 1. Mr. Portugal met with President Faure Gnassingbé, the Head of Parliament, Mr. Bonfoh Abasse, Prime Minister Komla Mally, Minister of Economic and Finance Adji Oteth Ayassor, as well as representatives of the donor community and civil society organizations.

"During my meetings I thanked President Gnassingbé and the Government for the warm welcome the Togolese people offered to me and the IMF delegation. We discussed in particular the steps that need to be taken to deal with both the economic and social impact of the recent devastating floods that affected the population and the economic infrastructure, and the sharp increases that we have seen in fuel and food prices in the course of this year.

"I also attended an IMF seminar for parliamentarians organized in collaboration with the Parliament of Togo. This was the first such seminar in Togo. The participants agreed that the seminar contributed to a broadening and deepening of mutual understanding of both the policy challenges facing Togo and the work of the IMF.

"I commended the President for the remarkable progress Togo has made since 2006 in advancing economic reforms, particularly in the fiscal area. This has helped Togo normalize relations with its development partners, including through the clearance of Togo's large arrears with the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB), a comprehensive debt relief agreement with Paris Club creditors, and the approval of the 3-year, US$108 million Poverty Reduction and Growth (PRGF) facility arrangement with the IMF in April 2008.

"Work is now underway to prepare for an increase of the IMF's financing in the framework of this PRGF arrangement, in order to mitigate the impact of flooding as well as the food and fuel price shocks. We expect to present a request to the IMF Executive Board in the very near future.

"Going forward, we agreed that continued efforts to improve public financial management and strengthen public enterprises and banks will be critical for creating the conditions for a revival of economic growth. I welcomed the progress made in reengaging with donors and creditors, as Togo's recovery requires substantial resources that cannot be expected to be derived from the domestic economy alone.

"The IMF will remain closely engaged to help the Togolese authorities with the implementation of their economic reform program through policy advice, as well as technical and financial assistance. With the impressive economic reform course currently underway, I expect that Togo will soon qualify for debt relief by reaching the Highly Indebted Poor Countries decision point. Our hope is that we can facilitate a virtuous circle of economic reform and economic recovery for the country."


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