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US: IMF reviews Burundi’s economic performance, gives passmark

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has completed an economic review mission to Burundi during which it conducted discussions with Burundi’s authorities for the sixth review of the government’s economic and financial programme supported by the IMF under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF).

An IMF statement sent to PANA in New York Thursday said the IMF mission, led by Mr. Jaroslaw
Wieczorek, visited Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital city, 4-17 Dec.

It quoted Mr. Wieczorek as saying: “Burundi’s performance under the ECF-supported programme has been broadly satisfactory. All quantitative performance criteria for end-September 2014 were met and the structural agenda under the programme advanced, albeit some reforms have taken longer than envisaged to implement.

“Economic growth is expected to reach 4.7 per cent in 2014, supported by a rebound in coffee production and construction activity linked to the implementation of major infrastructure
projects, including fiber optics, hydropower, and roads.”

He however noted that, following the decline in international prices of fuel and food, consumer
price inflation subsided markedly, and the average inflation rate for the year as a whole is
expected to drop from about 8 per cent in 2013 to 5 – 6 per cent in 2014.

The IMF official also disclosed that the economic outlook for 2015 is positive, saying: “Growth
is projected to remain at broadly the same level as in 2014, reflecting ongoing public investment
activity, notably in roads and energy generation, and the start of the pilot phase of nickel mining.
Inflation in 2015 is projected to average 5.5 percent.

“Revenue measures adopted in late July together with the receipts from the sales of telecom
licenses helped reverse the revenue shortfall registered in the first half of the year.

“As a result, the annual revenue and budget deficit targets are within reach. Also, the reforms
in public financial management advanced, with key steps including unification of the database
of civil servants and preparation of a new law on public debt management.

“The authorities took advantage of the drop in international fuel prices to restore the petroleum
pricing mechanism, which will help strengthen budgetary resources in the period ahead.”

It said the mission has encouraged the Burundi authorities to maintain budgetary discipline in
the run-up to the 2015 general elections and allow the exchange rate to respond to underlying
economic conditions, including the recent appreciation of the U.S. dollar, to protect external
stability and to foster competitiveness.

“The mission reached understandings ad referendum with the authorities on policies for 2015
and the reform agenda that could be supported by an extension of the ECF through March
2016, and the IMF’s Executive Board is expected to consider the review and extension of the
programme in early 2015,” it said.

During the visit, the IMF mission met with the Second Vice-President Gervais Rufyikiri, Minister of Finance Tabu Abdallah Manirakiza, Minister to the Office of the President Responsible for East African Community Affairs Leontine Nzeyimana, Minister of Energy and Mines, Come Manirakiza and the Minister of the Civil Service, Labor and Social Security Annonciate Sendazirasa.

Others are the Governor of the Central Bank Jean Ciza, members of the Finance Committee
of the National Assembly and of the Senate and other senior government officials.

The mission also had constructive discussions with members of the donor community,  
private sector and banks.


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