Western Hemisphere > St. Kitts and Nevis

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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Colombia’s very strong policy frameworks and comprehensive policy response to the pandemic have supported the economy’s resilience. With stronger-than-expected growth last year, fiscal deficits and public debt are declining faster than anticipated, and the fiscal framework has been reactivated with a new fiscal rule and debt anchor. Further monetary policy tightening should drive inflation towards the central bank’s inflation target by mid-2024. Successful credit support measures in the financial sector are being phased out and, as discussed in the recent FSAP, financial sector supervision and regulation have been enhanced since the previous staff assessment. Overall, the authorities remain committed to maintaining their very strong policy framework as seen by steps taken to normalize policies from a crisis footing in the pandemic. Political assurances on policy continuity from the leading candidates provide a necessary safeguard for the proposed arrangement.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Barbados has made good progress in implementing its Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) plan to restore fiscal and debt sustainability, rebuild reserves, and increase growth—but faces major challenges owing to the global coronavirus pandemic. Since May 2018, international reserves have increased from a low of US$220 million (5-6 weeks of import coverage) to more than US$1 billion at end-October 2020. This, and a successful 2018-19 public debt restructuring, have helped rebuild confidence in the country’s macroeconomic framework. While the local spread of COVID-19 has been successfully contained, allowing for a cautious reopening of the tourism sector in July, economic activity remains severely depressed owing to the global pandemic. Risks to the outlook remain elevated.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses El Salvador’s IMF Staff report on Request for Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RCI). This assistance is expected to help El Salvador direct funds swiftly to the country’s most affected sectors, including the healthcare system. El Salvador has adopted strict measures to prevent and contain the pandemic since early February—even before the first case was diagnosed—including travel restrictions, mandatory quarantine for exposed citizens, suspension of nonessential public and private sector operations, and a nationwide shelter-in-place order. The authorities’ emergency response also comprises measures to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic on the population, including through targeted cash transfers to vulnerable households and tax relief in the most affected economic sectors. IMF financing will help preserve fiscal space and catalyze significant funding from other multilateral institutions. The IMF continues to closely monitor El Salvador’s situation and stands ready to provide policy advice and further support as needed.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Ghana’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). Growth is slowing down, financial conditions have tightened, and the exchange rate is under pressure. This has resulted in large government and external financing needs. The authorities have timely and proactively responded to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in Ghana and support affected households and firms. The IMF continues to monitor Ghana’s situation closely and stands ready to provide policy advice and further support as needed. The uncertain dynamics of the pandemic creates significant risks to the macroeconomic outlook. Ghana continues to be classified at high risk of debt distress. The authorities remain committed to policies consistent with strong growth, rapid poverty reduction, and macroeconomic stability over the medium term. Additional support from other development partners will be required and critical to close the remaining external financing gap and ease budget constraints.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with the Kingdom of Eswatini highlights that the financial system remains sound, although vulnerabilities are rising. Hence, bank supervision should be intensified, the early intervention regime strengthened, and plans to relax single borrower concentration regulations suspended. The paper explains that the authorities have recently taken some policy actions toward stabilizing the economy. However, reflecting expansionary spending policies and declining Southern African Customs Union revenue, public debt is still rising, domestic arrears have accumulated, and international reserves have fallen below adequate levels. Supply side and governance reforms are needed to support private investment and strengthen competitiveness. Reforms should reduce vulnerabilities to state-capture and other forms of corruption, streamline business regulations and regulatory requirements, reduce high electricity and telecommunications costs, contain wage growth, and address shortages of skilled workers. A credible medium-term fiscal adjustment plan, starting with measures to reduce next year’s fiscal deficit, is needed to bring the economy on a sustainable path. Policies should combine expenditure reductions and revenue increases that enhance long-term growth prospects. Expanding and better targeting cash transfers would help protect the poor.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Staff-Monitored Program and Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility. The economic environment remains challenging and vulnerable to shocks. Real gross domestic product growth is projected to decelerate to 4.5 percent in 2019 from 5.8 percent in 2018. The recent fall in commodity prices, new spending initiatives, and looser spending oversight during the political transition period have led to a weaker fiscal position mostly financed by the central bank. In this context, international reserves have fallen to critically low levels creating urgent balance of payment needs. The new government is committed to implementing measures and reforms that would strengthen macroeconomic stability, reinforce international reserves, address issues related to poor governance, a difficult business environment, and pervasive poverty. Authorities also intend to boost domestic revenue by restoring the functioning of the value-added tax and enforcing the personal income tax, while improving mining revenue forecasting. In addition, the government intends to introduce strict spending caps, increase the effectiveness of monetary policy, and foster inclusive growth and private sector development including through infrastructure projects and free basic education.