(Ecofin Agency) - The International Monetary Fund approved additional financing of $28.8 million for The Gambia under the Extended Credit Facility signed with the country in March 2020.
In an official statement, the Fund said the money will help the country meet its urgent balance of payment and fiscal needs and boost its pandemic-affected economy. Covid-19 has hampered the implementation of reforms initially scheduled for last year. "The Gambia has been severely impacted by the pandemic. The authorities’ decisive response to the pandemic has helped to moderate its impact and set the stage for economic recovery,” said Tao Zhang, IMF Deputy MD. However, for 2020, the Fund expects zero economic growth for the West African country.
For an economic takeoff, IMF encourages The Gambian authorities to strengthen the mobilization of domestic revenue, focusing on “tax exemptions and reinforcing tax and customs administration.” This strategy should help the government improve its fiscal management and protect social spending in a context where The Gambia continues to be considered a country at high risk of debt distress, with limited borrowing space.
“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,” Mr. Zhang said.
The IMF Executive Board also approved an increase in the amount provided to The Gambia under the ECF arrangement. For 2021, the country's growth is expected to recover at 6%, according to the institution.
Moutiou Adjibi Nourou