A delegation led by Ms. Catherine McAuliffe from International Monetary Fund (IMF) has concluded their visit to Rwanda on Thursday March 29, which started on March 15. During their tour, they conducted discussions which mostly focused on the fourth review under the Policy Support Instrument (PSI).
The mission met with Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Hon. John Rwangombwa, Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda Amb. Claver Gatete, senior officials, as well as representatives of the private sector and development partners.
At the conclusion of the mission in Kigali, Ms. McAuliffe issued the following statement:
“Rwanda’s recent economic performance has been strong. The growth of real gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded 8 percent in 2011 and is projected to be in the range of 7.5–8 percent for 2012 and 2013. Consumer price inflation has been steady at close to 8 percent in the last few months—the lowest in the region—helped in part by the reduction in fuel taxes and good harvest. A larger-than-expected balance of payments surplus in 2011 resulted from strong export performance, as well as from a large increase in official and private sector inflows.
The overall fiscal balance for the first half of 2011/12 was better than projected (by about 1 percent of GDP), mainly reflecting higher donor support funds (grants and loans) as well as delays in implementing domestically-financed capital projects.
Performance under the IMF-supported program continues to be strong. All end-December 2011 quantitative targets under the program were met. Structural reforms are advancing, with notable progress in public financial management and analysis of revenue potential. The delays in the areas of debt management and fiscal reporting are currently being addressed.
The authorities and the mission agreed, on economic policies for the last year of the current PSI. The 2011/12 budget is expected to remain on track, with higher-than-expected budget support to be allocated to finance additional current and capital expenditure. In 2012/13, to make room for needed wage increases in the public sector, the authorities will reduce purchases of goods and services. Monetary policy will need to ensure that inflationary pressures remain at bay.
Also, the authorities and the mission discussed downside risks to the outlook, which stem from weaker global demand and higher oil prices. In the event of a revenue shortfall, the government stands ready to delay non-priority spending to preserve the fiscal consolidation gains of recent years. In the face of rising fuel prices, the authorities will rely primarily on monetary policy to contain inflation.
“The IMF\’s Executive Board is expected to consider the fourth PSI review in June 2012,” she said.