Presidential elections in June 2020, a re-run of the canceled 2019 elections, resulted in a change of government, with President Chakwera securing 59 percent of the vote. The new administration is facing a rapid acceleration of COVID-19 cases in Malawi and adverse spillovers from continued deterioration of the global and regional economic situation, significantly worsening the macroeconomic outlook. Consequently, an additional urgent balance of payments need of 2.9 percent of GDP has arisen—bringing the total external financing gap in 2020 to 5.0 percent of GDP. The authorities have requested an additional disbursement of 52.1 percent of quota (SDR 72.31 million) under the “exogenous shock” window of the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF), where 30 percent of the disbursement would finance the government budget. This follows the May 1, 2020 Board approval of a 47.9 percent of quota RCF disbursement (without budget support). The authorities have cancelled the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and expressed a strong interest in discussing a new ECF—better aligned with their new long-term growth and reform strategy—once conditions permit.
Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Jiro Honda, and Keyra Primus
Raising revenues has been a formidable challenge for fragile and conflict-affected states (FCS), a fact confirmed once again in the COVID-19 crisis. Nonetheless, achieving sizable gains in tax collection in fragile environments is not impossible. This paper—with empirical analyses and case studies—contributes to policy discussions on tax reform in such challenging environments. Our analyses show that many FCS achieved some recovery of tax revenues, even though they found it challenging to sustain the momentum beyond three years. We also find that changes in the quality of institutions (e.g., government effectiveness and control of corruption) are a key contributory factor to their tax performance (much more so than for non-FCS). Next, we look into the tax increase episodes of four countries (Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, and the Solomon Islands). Although each FCS is unique, their experiences suggest two lessons: (i) tax reforms can be pursued even with initially weak institutions; and (ii) strong political commitment is important to sustain reform efforts and realize long-lasting, sizable gains.
This paper discusses Malawi’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic is having a severe impact on Malawi, creating an urgent balance of payments need. The authorities have been proactive in mitigating the impact of the pandemic, including through increased spending on health care and social assistance, supporting small and medium enterprises, bolstering farmers’ incomes and ensuring food security through purchase and storage of agricultural harvests, and easing liquidity constraints in the banking system. The IMF’s emergency financing under the RCF is expected to help the authorities meet the large external financing gap and catalyze further assistance from the international community. Additional concessional donor support will be critical to close the remaining external financing gap and facilitate the needed interventions to ease the economic and social impacts of the pandemic, while preserving Malawi’s hard-earned macroeconomic stability. A widening of the budget deficit is appropriate in the near-term, given the fiscal costs associated with the economic slowdown and critical additional health care and social spending needs, which should be executed transparently and targeted to the most affected parts of society.
This paper discusses Malawi’s Second and Third Reviews Under the Three-Year Extended Credit Facility Arrangement and Requests for Waivers of NonObservance of Performance Criteria and Augmentation of Access. Program-supported structural reforms advanced, addressing several important gaps that had previously been identified in public financial management. All quantitative performance criteria were met except those on the primary balance, which were missed largely due to faster than envisaged implementation of rural electrification and development projects, unexpected spending for disaster relief and to ensure safety during elections and post-election protests. The authorities aim to entrench macroeconomic stability, preserve debt sustainability, and advance governance reforms while attaining higher, more inclusive, and resilient growth. Essential reconstruction and security spending will be accommodated by reprioritizing spending and a modest relaxation in the FY 2019/20 domestic primary balance target. Monetary policy remains targeted on containing inflation and exchange rate flexibility will buffer shocks and preserve competitiveness. Financial sector resilience continues to be strengthened.
In this paper we provide short- and long-run tax buoyancy estimates for 107 countries (distributed between advanced, emerging and low-income) for the period 1980–2014. By means of Fully-Modified OLS and (Pooled) Mean Group estimators, we find that: i) for advanced economies both long-run and short-run buoyancies are not different from one; ii) long run tax buoyancy exceeds one in the case of CIT for advanced economies, PIT and SSC in emerging markets, and TGS for low income countries, iii) in advanced countries (emerging market economies) CIT (CIT and TGS) buoyancy is larger during contractions than during times of economic expansions; iv) both trade openness and human capital increase buoyancy while inflation and output volatility decrease it.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
This 2004 Article IV Consultation highlights that Malawi's real GDP grew by an annual average of 3 percent in 2002–03. Agricultural production rebounded from the drought in 2001, but the 2004 harvest was affected by a drought. Macroeconomic imbalances, high interest rates, and infrastructure constraints have adversely affected the non-agricultural economy. Malawi’s performance under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement, approved in December 2000, was disappointing. The authorities have requested IMF staff to monitor their economic program to establish a track record that could lead to a new PRGF arrangement.
This paper examines the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) for Malawi. The authorities have requested staff monitoring of their macroeconomic program for the 2004/05 fiscal year (June–July) with a view to establishing a performance track record that could lead to a new Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement. The main objectives of the SMP will only be achieved if the approved 2004/05 (June–July) budget is in line with the agreed budget framework and the monetary overhang is addressed. Structural measures under the SMP will focus on public expenditure management.
Malawi has made satisfactory economic progress under the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement. Executive Directors commended fiscal consolidation, structural reforms, and monetary policy, and stressed the need to maintain macroeconomic stability. They welcomed the Malawi Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, which is aimed to attain the Millennium Development Goals. They agreed that Malawi attained the successful completion of the first review under the PRGF arrangement and approved a waiver, extension of arrangement, and an interim assistance under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Debt Initiative.
This paper reviews implementation of the Fund’s external communications strategy and suggests issues that the Board may wish to discuss at its third meeting since 1998 on the subject. The strategy has been shaped by the previous Board discussions and more recent decisions and discussions on transparency, conditionality, PRSP/PRGF, the Independent Evaluation Office, and other issues. This paper represents more of a stocktaking than a fundamental reconsideration of the Fund’s approach to external communications. It examines the progress made in recent years and steps that might be taken with current resources to increase the effectiveness of the strategy.