IMF approves US$28.8M disbursement for Gambia under ECF

EYEAFRICA TV: IMF has on Friday approved US$28.8 Million disbursement fund for the Gambia as its Executive Board completes first review of Gambia’s performance under a program supported by a 39-month Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement.

In a press release on Friday, the monetary body said the ECF, with a total access of SDR 35 million (about US$47.1 million at the time of approval, or 56.3 percent of quota), was approved by the IMF Executive Board on March 23, 2020.

 

This decision will allow the immediate disbursement of the money to The Gambia to to help meet the country’s balance-of-payments and fiscal financing needs and support the post-pandemic recovery. This the will bring the total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 25 million, about US$36 million.

The release added that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to represent a significant challenge to The Gambia’s economy, growth is expected to rebound to 6.0 percent in 2021.

IMF said Gambian authorities have maintained prudence in economic management and advanced structural reforms, including in governance, for a transparent use of funds and effective delivery of public services.

The Board also completed a financing assurances review and granted a waiver of nonobservance of a continuous quantitative performance criterion relating to a zero ceiling on the accumulation of external payment arrears.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Gambia has also benefited from an IMF Rapid Credit Facility disbursement of SDR 15.55 million (US$ 21.3 million at the time of approval) and is receiving debt service relief from the IMF under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, expected to total SDR 7.9 million, of which SDR 4.2 million (about US$5.83 million) has already been approved,” the release added.

Following the Executive Board discussion, Mr. Tao Zhang, Acting Chair and Deputy Managing Director said The Gambia has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The authorities’ decisive response to the pandemic has helped to moderate its impact and set the stage for economic recovery,” he noted.

“Continued commitment to prudent policies and adhering to the fiscal envelope, while protecting social spending is critical to support the recovery and the attainment of program objectives. Efforts to strengthen domestic revenue mobilization should focus on reducing tax exemptions and reinforcing tax and customs administration.

“Ardent pursuit of governance reforms, including in public procurement, anti-money laundering, and the overall anti-corruption framework is important to enhance transparency. These efforts would also help to cement positive perceptions of The Gambia as a sound business destination and support private sector-led inclusive growth.”

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