24 April 2019

Tanzania: We Have Not Blocked IMF Report, Says Govt

Photo: The East African
Finance and Planning Minister, Philip Mpango.

Dar es Salaam — The government said yesterday that it did not block a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the state of Tanzania's economy, adding that consultations between the two parties were still ongoing.

Finance and Planning minister Philip Mpango told Parliament that the Washington DC-based organisation - which is entrusted with the task of fostering monetary cooperation, securing financial stability, facilitating international trade, promoting high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reducing poverty around the world - was still in consultations with the government on the report.

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Dr Mpango was reacting to concern voiced by Tunduma MP Frank Mwakajoka (Chadema), who questioned the government's silence on the matter.

Last week, the IMF issued a statement, saying its Executive Board concluded the consideration of the 2019 Article IV Consultation with the United Republic of Tanzania on March 18, 2019, noting, however, that authorities in the East African nation had not consented to publication of the staff report or the related press release.

Under Article IV of its Articles of Agreement, the statement said, the IMF has a mandate to exercise surveillance over the economic, financial and exchange rate policies of its members in order to ensure the effective operation of the international monetary system.

"The IMF's appraisal of such policies involves a comprehensive analysis of the general economic situation and policy strategy of each member country. IMF economists visit the member country, usually once a year, to collect and analyse data and hold discussions with government and central bank officials. The authorities have not consented to publication of the staff report or the related press release," the statement says.

However, Dr Mpango told Parliament that some of the government's views had not been considered in the report.

"We are in talks with the IMF to sort out the problem before official publication," he said.

He added that through procedures stated in Article 4, consultations, the government shared its opinions over economic situation with the IMF team from November to December 7, last year.

"After the executive board of the IMF discusses about the report, a member country has 14 days to discuss it before giving its consent for publication," said Dr Mpango.

"We still have time. We have in no way blocked publication of the report."

Mr Mwanjoka earlier faulted the government over its failure to consent to publication of the report.

"The government blocked the IMF from publishing its report on the country's economic status in violation of freedom of expression," he said and asked: "What is the government afraid of?"

Meanwhile, Civic United Front (CUF) chairman Ibrahim Lipumba called upon the government to reveal contents of the report, saying keeping it secret was of no use since it had already been leaked.

"I'm sure the government is in possession of the report. The IMF is in possession of the same document. Investors in China, Germany and everywhere else are aware of what is contained in the report. The government should allow it to be published and address the contentious issues," he said.

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