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Public Information Notice: IMF Executive Board Reviews Proposal for Streamlining Preliminary HIPC Documents

International Monetary Fund
International Development Association

Proposal for Streamlining Preliminary
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)
Initiative Documents

Prepared by the Staffs of the IMF and the World Bank

October 24, 2000
1. During the informal briefing of members of the Boards on October 12,1 Executive Directors broadly supported the objective of streamlining HIPC Initiative documentation, to reduce duplication, processing time, and resource requirements—while preserving advance consultation with Directors on key aspects of HIPC Initiative decisions. As the next step, they requested staffs to propose, for each Board's consideration, specific measures to achieve this objective.

2. The established procedure is for the Boards to consider preliminary HIPC documents for a given country prior to discussing HIPC Initiative decision point documents.2 This provides the Boards with the opportunity for early comments on the eligibility of the country for HIPC Initiative assistance, the timing of the decision point and the possible triggers for reaching the floating completion point. These preliminary discussions facilitate smoother consideration of the decision point documents. In addition, the circulation of preliminary documents to other creditors helps advance work on debt data reconciliation and gives creditors an opportunity to comment on the track record and proposed implementation conditionality.

3. For these reasons, the basic principle of a country-specific preliminary HIPC discussion should be preserved. However, at present, there is considerable overlap between the preliminary and final HIPC decision point papers. The staffs see considerable scope for streamlining the preliminary HIPC documents while preserving the advantages of early consultation on key features of HIPC Initiative decisions with the Boards. Specifically, we would propose that the preliminary HIPC document focus on the following key issues:

  • eligibility for HIPC Initiative assistance;

  • track record;

  • summary debt sustainability analysis;

  • timing of possible decision points;

  • possible triggers for the floating completion point; and

  • likely assistance under the Initiative (including breakdown by principal creditor groups).

4. We envisage that this can be done in about 5-8 pages of text with accompanying boxes and tables. Examples for The Gambia and Madagascar are being circulated in parallel to the Executive Board. These streamlined preliminary documents will also serve to encourage creditors and debtors to make progress on the debt reconciliation process. These streamlined documents would be published—as has been agreed for preliminary HIPC documents—after consideration by the Boards.

5. Subject to Executive Directors' approval, this proposal would go into effect immediately and streamlined preliminary documents would be used for the four countries that may reach decision points in calendar 2000 which have not yet had preliminary HIPC documents (The Gambia, Madagascar, Niger, and São Tomé and Príncipe); and for 2 countries that may also reach decision points in 2000 (Ethiopia and Guinea Bissau) where preliminary documents were discussed nearly two years ago. Since these changes are justified by the desirability of avoiding duplication and of focusing discussions by the Boards on key issues, we propose the changes should continue into 2001, subject to the Boards' agreement after a review of the experience with the early cases.

6. A further change proposed for the remainder of this calendar year is that discussion of the streamlined preliminary decision point documents should be after a review period of five working days to be implemented on a case-by-case basis. This change would permit Executive Directors' comments on the streamlined preliminary documents to be reflected in the formal decision point documents while still permitting these decision point documents to be presented to the Boards for consideration before the year end.3

7. Directors' agreement is sought:

  • To replace the full preliminary document by the proposed streamlined version described above, as illustrated by the examples of The Gambia and Madagascar.

  • For the remainder of calendar year 2000, to discuss these documents after a review period of five working days to be implemented on a case-by-case basis.

8. If this approach is agreed, it is proposed that:

  • Country-specific discussions by the Boards of the streamlined preliminary documents on The Gambia and Madagascar take place on the same day as the discussion of these revised procedures.

  • Individual discussions of streamlined Preliminary HIPC documents for the remaining four countries that may be able to reach their decision points in 2000—Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, and São Tomé and Príncipe—take place in November—possibly in groups of two countries—on the same basis, depending on progress in individual country cases.

9. As is standard practice for HIPC papers, we propose to publish this paper on the Bank and Fund websites after discussion by the Boards.

1Directors had before them a joint note by the staffs: HIPC Initiative-Preliminary Information on Selected Upcoming HIPCs (EBS/00/204 and IDA/R2000-177, 10/11/2000).
2 See the HIPC Debt Initiative-Elaboration of Key Features and Proposed Procedures (EBS/96/135 and SecM 96-927, 8/26/1996).
3 Absent a shortening of the circulation period, and a streamlining of the preliminary HIPC document, it would be extremely difficult for these cases to reach decision points before end-2000.