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IMF statement on Uganda’s current Economic framework has a “grey” list, but a steady core inflation!

The International Monetary funds have concluded yet another visit to Uganda. As todays statement and insights to the economy is dim. There is not much prospects or much goodness to take out of it. Unless, you are thinking to invest while the inflations are rising and hoping it does not stop. Even though the needless to say, it has been like this before after General Elections in Uganda. That the economy has suffered a blow and a shock, which has hurt the economy and food prices. Therefore, sparked demonstrations and uprisings, like that last big one in Walk to Work and Activist for Change in 2011. It is clearly on the same path, but just in 2017 instead. President Yoweri Museveni likes to repeat himself!

“Inflation has edged up, mainly reflecting the effects of the drought. Food price inflation rose from 5 percent year-on-year in September 2016 to 22 percent in April 2017. With this, headline inflation recorded 6.8 in April 2017. Core inflation stood at 4.9 percent, in line with the Bank of Uganda’s (BoU’s) 5 percent target” (IMF, 2017). These numbers are showing the decline and increase of common commodities, even if the Core Inflation is around the estimated level; the food prices are showing the problems in the economy in general.

“The authorities have made some progress on structural reforms. Two structural benchmarks have been met on time, three with delay, and the remaining five are pending. Most notably, the authorities moved forward the legislative agenda that will support Uganda’s exit from the Financial Action Task Force “grey” list—the laws now await President Museveni’s assent. The Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development published reconciled reports on the stock of outstanding arrears at end-June 2016 (3.2 percent of GDP). Pending reforms include sending the BoU Act Amendments to Parliament, publishing the report on end-December unpaid bills, and sending to cabinet a policy for regulating mobile money” (IMF, 2017). The GoU and President Museveni have not complied totally and made laws objectively transparent. Therefore, there are laws awaiting the approval and be requested to Parliament, as the state reserves and budgets are still enforced with the will of the President. In addition, a proof of the maladministration is the amount of budget arrears that was in last budget year, which will hit the economy, as the bills have to be paid this year.

“Uganda’s external position is broadly consistent with fundamentals and desirable policies in 2016. The current account deficit is projected to temporarily increase over the next 5 years as infrastructure and oil sector investment ramp up further. Achieving the envisaged growth dividend of these investments is essential to maintaining external stability—just as for public debt sustainability. International reserves at end-December 2016 stood at US$3 billion (5¼ months of next year’s imports), above the adequacy level suggested by the IMF’s metric for credit-constrained economies. Going forward, the BoU can purchase reserves opportunistically and would meet the EAC convergence criterion of 4½ months of imports. The flexible exchange rate regime is serving Uganda well” (IMF, 2017). Therefore, the government and IMF envisions that the future prospects of oil monies will be sustainable for the current loans into infrastructure projects. It even envision it and with that will ensure external stability and trust into the economic climate of Uganda, that shows that the trust in future gains is the ones; that makes people have faith in the Ugandan economy.

This is all here proof in stated language that the IMF are looking through the budgets and their laws. Nevertheless, is not addressing the trillions shillings suddenly disappearing, neither the Presidential Handshake, as these are just figment of imagination for the foreign economic advisors. They just do not see it or does not want to see it. Peace.

Reference:

IMF – ‘Uganda: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2017 Article IV Consultation Mission and Discussions for the 8th Review under the Policy Support Instrument’ (16.05.2017) link: http://www.imf-fmi.africa-newsroom.com/press/uganda-staff-concluding-statement-of-the-2017-article-iv-consultation-mission-and-discussions-for-the-8th-review-under-the-policy-support-instrument?lang=en

IMF Executive Board Completes the Seventh Review Under the Policy Support Instrument for Uganda (11.01.2017)

UGX Pic

Uganda’s economy has performed reasonably well in a complex environment.

WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, January 11, 2017 – On January 5, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the seventh review of Uganda’s economic program under the Policy Support Instrument (PSI).1 The Board’s decision was taken on a lapse of time basis.2 In completing the review, the Board granted a waiver of the nonobservance of the end-June 2016 assessment criterion on the overall deficit of the central government.

The PSI for Uganda was approved by the Board on June 28, 2013 (see Press Release No. 13/78), and a one-year extension was approved on June 6, 2016 (see Press Release No. 16/263).

Uganda’s economy has performed reasonably well in a complex environment. Growth slowed marginally to 4.8 percent in FY15/16, reflecting muted sentiment in an election year and adverse global and regional developments. The current account deficit improved by 1 percentage point to 5.9 percent of GDP, and the Shilling has stabilized after a sharp depreciation in 2015. Growth is projected to nudge up to 5 percent in FY16/17.

Program performance under the PSI has been mixed. Tight monetary policy in 2015 has helped contain inflation in the target range, and the Bank of Uganda (BoU) has started an easing cycle in April 2016. Reserve cover remains adequate. Fiscal revenue and deficit targets were missed, reflecting lower-than-expected growth and election effects. Investment spending fell short, while current expenditure overshot. Structural reforms have progressed, albeit with some delays.

The banking sector remains overall well capitalized, despite elevated non-performing loans. The BoU appropriately took over an undercapitalized bank and is identifying a strategic investor.

Uganda remains at a low risk of debt distress. The scaling-up of infrastructure investment implies a temporary increase in debt, putting a premium on domestic revenue mobilization and ensuring that public investment yields the intended growth dividend.

Looking ahead, priorities include close cooperation with the Financial Action Task Force to ensure Uganda’s swift exit from its “gray” list; strengthening domestic arrears monitoring; and amending the Bank of Uganda Act to reinforce central bank independence.

1 The PSI is an instrument of the IMF designed for countries that do not need balance of payments financial support. The PSI helps countries design effective economic programs that, once approved by the IMF’s Executive Board, signal to donors, multilateral development banks, and markets the Fund’s endorsement of a member’s policies (see imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/psi.htm). Details on Uganda’s current PSI are available at imf.org/uganda.

2 The Executive Board takes decisions without a meeting when it is agreed by the Board that a proposal can be considered without convening formal discussions.

Press Statement: IMF Executive Board Completes Sixth PSI Review for Uganda and Approves One-Year Extension of the Program (07.06.2016)

Bank notes Uganda

WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, June 7, 2016 –  The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund today completed the sixth review of Uganda’s economic performance under the program supported by the Policy Support Instrument (PSI).1.

In completing the review, the Board approved the authorities’ request for a one-year extension of the current PSI arrangement to facilitate policy continuity and allow sufficient time for ongoing structural reforms to progress and also granted a waiver of the nonobservance of the end-December 2015 assessment criteria on the overall deficit of the central government.

The PSI for Uganda was approved by the Executive Board on June 28, 2013 (see Press Release No. 13/78). Uganda’s program under the PSI aims at maintaining macroeconomic stability and alleviating constraints to growth. The program supports the authorities’ objectives on reforms to the monetary policy framework, tax revenue mobilization, public financial management, and financial sector development. It also backs efforts to improve the business environment, including by preparing the economy better for oil production.

Following the Board discussion, Mr. Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, made the following statement:

“Despite external shocks, and amid election-related uncertainty, Uganda’s economy demonstrated resilience, with robust growth, low inflation, and strong international reserves. However, structural reforms have lagged and need to be revitalized to enhance competitiveness, promote economic diversification, and foster sustained and inclusive economic growth.

“Economic policies will remain focused on keeping inflation low and boosting growth. Fiscal priorities include shifting public spending toward infrastructure and poverty-alleviating expenditures, boosting domestic revenue mobilization, and enhancing public investment efficiency. Continued fiscal prudence could facilitate further monetary policy easing, which would help ease tight credit conditions.

“More progress is needed on key structural reforms. Prompt parliamentary approval of the Public Financial Management Act regulations in line with international best practice, decisive action to reconcile and validate the stock of domestic arrears, and finalizing the charter of fiscal responsibility are paramount steps to further improve governance and strengthen the budget process. Final approval of legal amendments to the Bank of Uganda Act will strengthen the central bank’s independence and support the inflation targeting regime.

“Vigilance is needed to ensure continued financial stability. Plans to further strengthen prudential supervision in line with the Basel III guidelines are welcome. Ensuring that regulatory oversight keeps pace with financial innovation will help preserve financial stability. Prioritizing prompt parliamentary approval of the Amendments of the Anti-Money Laundering Amendment Act and the Insurance Act should help Uganda exit from the FATF gray list, further strengthening the investment climate.”

1 The PSI is an instrument of the IMF designed for countries that do not need balance of payments financial support. The PSI helps countries design effective economic programs that, once approved by the IMF’s Executive Board, signal to donors, multilateral development banks, and markets the Fund’s endorsement of a member’s policies (seehttp://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/psi.htm). Details on Uganda’s current PSI are available at imf.org/uganda.

Press Release No. 15/460: IMF Staff Completes Review Mission to Uganda (5.10.2015)

Bank notes Uganda

A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Ana Lucía Coronel, IMF Mission Chief and Senior Resident Representative in Uganda, visited Kampala from September 24 to October 5, 2015, to conduct the fifth review of Uganda’s economic program supported by the Policy Support Instrument (PSI).1

At the end of the mission, Ms. Coronel, issued the following statement:

“Despite the global and regional economic challenges and election-related uncertainties, Uganda’s recent economic performance has been mostly favorable. Real economic growth —led by increased public investment—reached 5 percent in FY2014/15, slightly below staff projections, but well above the FY2013/14 level (4.5 percent). Core inflation accelerated to 6.7 percent year on year in September but remains within the Bank of Uganda’s target band. International reserves remain at comfortable levels”. 

“Uganda is not immune to the difficult external environment affecting other countries. Together with domestic nervousness relating to the upcoming elections, external shocks and uncertainty have resulted in a sharp decline in the shilling (27 percent over the past year), creating challenges for policy makers. The exchange rate depreciation raised domestic prices given the high import content of the consumption basket, created uncertainty for consumers and investors, and generated market uneasiness. The mission welcomed the authorities’ proactive and effective response to the challenging situation, notable the timely monetary tightening, which has helped curb further inflationary pressures”,

“Performance under the PSI was satisfactory. The end-June 2015 fiscal, external, and inflation targets were mostly met. There was significant progress on increasing tax revenue, with the strong package introduced in the FY2014/15 budget yielding about 1¼ percent of GDP compared to an original target of ½ percent. However, the high stock of domestic arrears—notably the proliferation of court awards—remains a concern, despite the authorities’ efforts to reduce them”.

“Discussions focused on policies to be conducted over the rest of the fiscal year. The mission welcomed the authorities’ determination to adapt the policy mix to the ongoing challenges, including those related to the political cycle, by closely coordinating fiscal and monetary actions. Supported by an adequate stock of international reserves, monetary policy will remain vigilant of price developments and help moderate inflation expectations now that the shilling has largely stabilized. On the fiscal front, the authorities are encouraged to continue to build on the strong revenue performance of last year by improving tax collections even during the election period. On the expenditure side, the government has appropriately identified a series of spending cuts that should reduce the need for domestic borrowing, creating space for private sector credit and growth recovery”.

“On the structural front, important steps have been taken. The mission welcomes the approval of the Public Financial Management Act and the actions taken to clean the payroll and improve the payments system. Regulating the new law and finalizing the Charter of Fiscal Responsibility are important steps to further help improve the budget process and efficiency of expenditure. In addition to these improvements, the mission has encouraged the authorities to intensify ongoing efforts to fight corruption, which continues to affect the business climate. Improving transparency and accountability remains critical”.

Over the medium term, core inflation is set to decline toward the 5 percent target and growth is expected to gradually return to its potential of about 6–6½ percent. While the authorities will continue their plans to scale up public investment, they intend to re-profile projects to ensure that public debt remains at low risk of distress. The completion of these projects should reduce infrastructure bottlenecks and support growth”.

“The mission met with Mr. Keith Muhakanizi, Permanent Secretary/Secretary of Treasury of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development; Dr. Louis Kasekende, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Uganda; and other senior government officials, and representatives from the business, civil society and international communities. The mission thanks all counterparts for their collaboration”.

“IMF Executive Board consideration of the fifth review of the PSI-supported program is expected by end-November 2015.”

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