This follows after the IMF approved a three year economic programme for the West African country, supported through their Extended Credit Facility (ECF).
The IMF’s Mission Chief, Malangu Kabedi-Mbuyi, met with the country’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Kaifala Marah, the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone, Sheku Sesay, as well as with other stakeholders during March 2014 in Freetown, and concluded that the country’s economic progress remains robust through its growing mining activities.
“Economic activity continues to expand robustly, mainly on account of a sharp increase in mining activity. Output expanded by an estimated 20 per cent in 2013, 5.5 per cent excluding iron-ore mining activity,” said Kabedi-Mbuyi.
“Reflecting subdued food prices, inflation has also continued to decelerate to 8.5 per cent at end-2013. Gross international reserves reached 3.5 months of import cover, supported by increased export receipts from iron ore. The fiscal position improved, reflecting a strong revenue performance and expenditure restraint. The overall fiscal deficit is estimated to have narrowed to 1.9 per cent of non-iron ore GDP [gross domestic product], from 5.6 per cent in 2012.”
(READ MORE: Sierra Leone explores partnerships in mining)
She added that the country’s economic programme implementation remained good and that at the end of December 2013, all quantitative performance criteria were met, except for the indicative floor on poverty related spending, which was lower than expected due to the slow execution of investment financed domestically.
“Good progress was made in program review discussions. The mission expects to discuss remaining policy issues with the authorities in the coming weeks, with a view to paving the way for the IMF’s Executive Board consideration of the review before end-June,” explained Kabedi-Mbuyi.
“The mission would like to thank the authorities for their continued excellent cooperation.”
(WATCH VIDEO: Sierra Leone’s economy with Minister Dr Richard Koneth)