Welfare of citizens remain a challenge- IMF Ongley

“Overcoming the legacy of prolonged economic instability and numerous shocks, and improving the wellbeing of Sierra Leoneans remains challenging” said Karen Ongley, International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission lead. The Sierra Leone authorities and IMF mission concluded discussions reaching staff-level agreement on economic policies to pave the way for the IMF Executive Board to consider the second review under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF)‑supported program. She went further to note that while the economy is continuing to recover, the outlook remains challenging and improving the well-being of Sierra Leoneans is an ambitious endeavor. “The 2020 budget strikes a balance between meeting the country’s large development needs and navigating the tight financing situation.” The team visited Freetown during October 30-November 13, 2019 to conduct the 2019 Article IV consultation and the second review of the IMF arrangement under the, ECF approved by the Executive Board on November 30, 2018. In a statement issued by the team, Ongley went on to say that the Government’s National Development Plan (NDP) promises to put the country on a sustainable development path. “It aspires to develop human and physical capital, while strengthening governance and accountability to build an economy that is macro-economically sound, inclusive and resilient to shocks.” Whilst noting with caution that, “the authorities are pursuing this plan against a tight financing situation. Pursuing these important goals—boosting education, health, agriculture, and infrastructure—will require carefully calibrated policies.” “We appreciate the open dialogue on the 2020 budget, which strikes a balance between meeting priority spending needs and navigating the tight financing situation. To this end, the Government’s efforts to mobilize domestic revenue are advancing well, thanks to significant tax administration measures, such as operationalizing the Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS)” she noted.

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