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IMF sets March for second Extended Credit Facility review

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By Chimwemwe Mangazi:

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said it would conduct the second review of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme for Malawi in March.

In November 2018, Malawi passed the IMF test as the fund’s executive board approved the disbursement of $15.4 million under the ECF programme.

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The approved amount is part of the $108.2 million to be disbursed over a three-year period.

In a response to an emailed questionnaire yesterday, IMF Resident Representative, Jack Joo Ree, said the fund is evaluating the local economy.

“The review is going to be early March. Actually, right now we are collecting the data so we are doing stock-taking. It will be premature to comment much about the performance,” Ree said.

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In the November review, IMF said Malawi’s fiscal position deteriorated due to larger than expected maize purchases for food security after poor harvests in some parts of the country as well as increased spending to ensure safe elections and payments of past arrears .

In a recent interview, Ree tipped authorities to be cautious on public spending ahead of the May 21 Tripartite Elections to remain on track in the programme.

During the last review, it was highlighted that key elements include public financial management reforms.

The ECF-supported programme is aimed at entrenching macroeconomic stability and fostering higher, more inclusive, and resilient growth.

The current ECF program was approved in April 2018.

In a recent interview, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, expressed confidence that Malawi would remain on track under the programme as Capital Hill is operating in line with IMF recommendations.

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