Sierra Leone: IMF Staff Concludes Visit to Sierra Leone

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End-of-Mission press releases include statements of IMF staff teams that convey preliminary findings after a visit to a country. The views expressed in this statement are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF's Executive Board. This mission will not result in a Board discussion.

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Karen Ongley, visited Freetown during September 18 to 24, 2019, to discuss recent economic developments and progress toward structural reforms.

At the end of the visit, Ms. Ongley issued the following statement:

"Today, we concluded a week of useful technical discussions in Freetown. Our discussions with stakeholders included an update on economic developments and engagement on the structural reform agenda ahead of the next visit to discuss the second review under the Enhanced Credit Facility (ECF) slated for later this year:

"Economic performance in the first half of 2019 has been broadly in line with projections at the time of the first review under the ECF, according to preliminary data. Budget developments and credit to the government appear to have been within target, thanks to robust revenue collection and continued, although easing, under‑spending. Gross international reserves increased to almost US $517 million at end‑June (about 3½ months of imports).

"Discussions centered around the government's progress in developing a strategy to clear a stock of domestic arrears. The government is finalizing the reconciliation of domestic payment arrears and discussed with IMF staff possible options to clear arrears consistent with debt sustainability and supported by reforms to strengthen public financial management.

"A joint two-day workshop facilitated technical exchange. During this workshop with staff from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Bank of Sierra Leone, National Revenue Authority, Statistics Sierra Leone, and the IMF discussed empirical modeling techniques for ongoing economic research projects.

"The team also held productive discussions with senior government officials, including from the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Sierra Leone, Audit Service Sierra Leone, as well as banking sector representatives and development partners. The team thanks all counterparts for the productive discussions, excellent cooperation, and warm hospitality."

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