This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Comorian economy’s performance improved in 2017. Growth is estimated at 2.7 percent for 2017, half a percentage point higher than in the previous year. A combination of factors contributed to this outcome, notably an improved electricity situation relative to 2016, increased exports, and stronger remittances flows. However, the economy was held back by a perceived deterioration in the business climate and tensions in the financial sector. Inflation remained moderate. The near-term outlook remains challenging in the absence of further reform efforts. The authorities’ reform agenda and investment plans, undertaken in the context of their revised strategic development plan will help raise potential growth rates going.
KEY ISSUES • The Comorian economy continues to grow although at a slightly slower pace. Economic growth in 2014 is projected at 3.3 percent, adversely affected by electricity disruptions and slower-than-expected implementation of the public investment program. Inflation has remained subdued. Staffs’ baseline assumption is that real GDP growth will average around 4 percent per annum over the medium term, provided reforms are implemented. • Implementation of the 2014 budget was challenging, particularly after mid-year. While revenues were broadly on target, resources were inadequate to meet the higher- than-budgeted wage bill resulting from an increase in teacher salaries in March and previously un-budgeted expenditures, including on elections. Domestically-financed investment spending was severely constrained and temporary arrears were incurred on salaries and external debt. • The key short-term challenge is to find a better balance between available resources and expenditures so that arrears can be avoided. Spending plans need to be based on realistic expectations of the resources likely to be available. The 2015 budget is premised on this principle but the scope for domestically-financed investment is inadequate as obligatory spending on wages and salaries and debt service absorbs most of domestic revenue. • For the medium-term the key challenges are to create fiscal space for infrastructure investment and social spending, accelerate inclusive growth and employment generation, and reduce poverty. The authorities need to focus their efforts on strengthening revenue administration and public financial management to expand fiscal space and improve transparency. Weaknesses in the business environment, including inadequate infrastructure, especially in the energy sector, and difficulties in contract enforcement represent important challenges.
This paper describes economic developments in Comoros during the 1990s. The economic performance of Comoros during 1991–94 was characterized by real growth of about 1.6 percent a year on average, large financial imbalances, an eroding export base, and the accumulation of large domestic and external payments arrears. Public finances came under pressure as revenue performance deteriorated as a result of a narrow tax base, tax exemptions and evasion, and poor tax administration, exacerbated by rising current expenditures, which stemmed in particular from a growing wage bill.