An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team visited Kinshasa from 19-25 February 2020 to discuss developments around the Staff Monitored Program (SMP) which was approved in December 2019. Led by Mauricio Villafuerte, the purpose of the visit was to also get an update about the macroeconomic framework and discuss conclusions of the recent safeguard assessment of the Banque Centrale du Congo (BCC).
“A preliminary assessment suggests that all quantitative targets and structural benchmark under the SMP for end-December were met. The first and second reviews of the SMP will be combined and formally undertaken in May,” commented Villafuerte. He added that in 2019, year-on-year inflation remained contained at 4.6% and the exchange relative stable, while growth slowed to 4.4% down from 5.8% in 2018, owing mainly to lower mining production.
“However, budget execution until mid-February raises concerns owing to spending pressures and lackluster revenue performance, which have led to central bank advances to the government and an erosion of BCC international reserves.” As a result, central bank advances need to be stopped urgently.
During the visit, it was apparent that authorities had taken the necessary steps to control expenditures going forward. “The authorities published on the Ministry of Finance’s website a Treasury Plan consistent with realistic revenue projections and the Ministry of Budget prepared a Commitment Plan to institute spending limits for all line ministries and government agencies,” Villafuerte added.
The team also met with President Félix Tshisekedi, Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga, Minister of Finance José Sele Yalaghuli, Governor of the Bank of Congo Deogratias Mutombo Nyembo and other senior government officials, representatives of the private sector, and those of the international community present in Kinshasa.