Though Angolan authorities have accelerated their efforts to improve the business environment, which bodes well for the future, the southern African country needs to do more and push for good governance and the rule of law, according to Naoyuki Shinohara, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Angola still faces challenges, in particular fiscal deficits, dependence on oil exports, improving infrastructure and oversight on public investments, and reducing poverty,” Shinohara remarked Tuesday at the conclusion his 14-16 Sept. official visit to Angola.
Assuring Angolan authorities that “the IMF remains committed to assisting the government in the best possible way to address these challenges and meet its development goals,” he said it will be important they further strengthen bank supervision.
“I am pleased with the open dialogue with the authorities on their efforts to address Angola’s macroeconomic challenges and implement economic reforms,” Shinohara said, encouraging them to address, in particular, “the emerging fiscal deficits in order to protect the economy against swings in international oil prices and preserve space for their objectives to rebuild infrastructure, while saving part of the oil wealth for future generations.”
“In this connection,” Shinohara advised, “it will be important to increase domestic revenue mobilisation by improving revenue administration, restrain the growth of current spending by adopting a modern wage policy for civil servants and reducing costly and regressive fuel subsidies, while expanding mechanisms to protect the poor and improve public investment efficiency through better project selection and monitoring.”
During the visit, the IMF delegation discussed with Angolan authorities issues concerning policy advice as part of the IMF annual consultations as well as stepped-up IMF technical assistance to the country.
Shinohara noted that there has been progress over the past several years toward implementing sound economic policies to deliver historically-low inflation, adequate international reserves and robust growth.
Summing up the visit, he said: “I was encouraged by the progress made over the last five years and the authorities’ strong commitment and efforts to transform Angola into a more inclusive economy.”
Among other officials, the IMF deputy chief had discussions with Vice President Manuel Vicente, Acting President of the National Assembly Joana Lina Ramos Baptista, Minister of Finance Armando Manuel, National Bank of Angola Governor José Massano, and representatives of the business community and civil society.
In addition, according to an IMF brief made available to PANA here, Shinohara addressed faculty and students at the Agostinho Neto University, visited and made a donation to the Dom Bosco Salesian community in Luanda, which focuses on youth education, and was shown the impressive transformation of Luanda’s port.