International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper discusses Samoa’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility. Samoa has shown resilience to multiple past economic shocks, underpinned by the authorities’ strong commitment to support the economy, and financial assistance provided by the international community. The global coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has exacerbated the impact of the measles outbreak of late-2019 on Samoa’s economy. The border closure, combined with a sudden stop of tourist arrivals and decline in remittances, has led to a precipitous fall in two vital sources of foreign earnings and resulted in an urgent balance of payments need. Beyond the immediate response, the authorities will continue to implement structural reforms, with policies appropriately balanced between safeguarding debt sustainability and promoting economic growth. They also need to continue their efforts to enhance spending efficiency, strengthen social protection programs and safety nets, further improve tax administration, strengthen public financial management, and safeguard financial stability. Addressing vulnerability to climate change remains a key medium-term challenge to create a fiscal buffer.
The impact of the 2009 tsunami on tourism and on the Samoan economy is likely to be substantial. The effectiveness of monetary transmission in Samoa has improved over time; however, it is still below international standards. The adverse impact of the crisis on the functioning of the banking system may be alleviated by an improvement in the financial infrastructure. State-owned enterprises (SOE) continue to play an important role in Samoa, and the key to successful SOE reform in Samoa will be placing them on a fully commercial footing.
This Selected Issues paper on Samoa reviews limitations to the existing framework of monetary policy, and suggests ways to improve its effectiveness. It examines current instruments at the disposal of the central bank to conduct monetary policy, before showing why monetary policy execution can be sometimes difficult. It also shows that such problems are not uncommon in economies with shallow financial markets. The paper also takes stock of developments since the early 1990s, and asks what major impediments to sustained private development remain.
This 2003 Article IV Consultation highlights that Samoa’s GDP growth slowed to 1.9 percent in 2001/02. This slowdown reflected mainly a steep decline in agriculture and a sharp contraction in construction activity. Although underlying inflation has remained low, headline inflation accelerated in this period, rising from 1.1 percent in 2000/01 to 9.8 percent in 2001/02 as a result of food supply shortages. Supervision in the financial sector has been enhanced by bringing all nonbank institutions under the supervisory regime of the central bank, and guidelines governing the supervision of these institutions are currently being developed.