24 April 2019

Tanzania: Mpango - IMF Report Still Debated

CLAIMS that the government blocked the publication of International Monetary Fund's (IMF) report on Tanzania's economic status are mere fabrications, the state said yesterday.

Finance and Planning Minister Dr Philip Mpango dismissed the claims as unfounded, saying consultations were underway on the improvement of the economic document.

Dr Mpango was compelled to give explanation after the issue emerged in the house, with Frank Mwakajoka (Tunduma-CHADEMA) alleging that the government disapproved the report release.

He accused the government of restricting the freedom of speech and opinion, compelling Minister Mpango to intervene. Dr Mpango explained that consultations on the report started last year.

The 2019 Article IV Consultation with the United Republic of Tanzania Staff Report is part of the IMF's "mandate to exercise surveillance over the economic, financial and exchange rate policies of its members in order to ensure effective operation of the international monetary system."

Under Article IV of its Articles of Agreement, the IMF is authorised to inspect the economic, financial and exchange rate policies of its members to ensure smooth running of international monetary system.

The inspection entails at least one annual visit by IMF economists to the member country to analyse data and convene meetings with the government and central bank officials.

IMF experts were in the country between November 26 and December 7, last year for consultations, particularly on getting the government's views on the economic status as per Article IV of the IMF.

Thereafter, they produced a draft report, which was also submitted to the government for collection of more views to improve the document.

"I saw that report in March this year but our views were not incorporated and I have spoken with the IMF director over the matter... the talks are still continuing, we haven't stopped release of the report, we are only working on normal procedures," Dr Mpango clarified, noting that the Executive Board of the IMF also has discussions over the report.

After the report has passed through the discussion stage by the executive board, it will then go back to the government, which will have 14 days to review it before its approval.

Earlier, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, also said talks with the IMF over the report were underway.

"It is wrong to claim that the government has stopped the release of the report, I ask you honourable Speaker to order honourable Mwakajoka to rescind his statement," Ms Mhagama appealed.

The IMF report emerged when the parliament was discussing the proposed 2019/20 budget for the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports.

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