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Sierra Leone: Request for a Three–Year Arrangement Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
May 2006
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I. Introduction

1. The Sierra Leonean authorities are requesting a successor PRGF arrangement to help consolidate past advances in macroeconomic stabilization and structural reforms. The attached letter of intent (LOI) and accompanying memorandum of economic and financial policies (MEFP) outline the government’s medium-term (2006–08) strategy and policy objectives, together with a detailed macroeconomic and structural agenda for 2006, including the government budget (Appendix I). A successor arrangement was supported by the Fund’s Executive Board at the conclusion of the final review under the PRGF arrangement that expired in June 2005, provided that policies were adequate, to help Sierra Leone reach the completion point under the enhanced initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC).1

2. Continued Fund involvement in Sierra Leone is warranted by the sizeable development needs in the country and the relatively large external financing gap that is projected. An ex post assessment (EPA)2 for Sierra Leone was conducted in 2005, covering ten years of almost continuous involvement with Fund programs under several arrangements (Appendix II). The EPA concluded that all Fund-supported programs during the period had underscored the importance of sound macroeconomic policies and structural reforms for achieving higher long-run output growth and reducing poverty. Conditionality under these programs helped strengthen program implementation. Performance was strongest under the recent PRGF arrangement, in part because the social situation was more secure, external conditions stronger, and the government enjoyed broad public support. Building on the lessons from the EPA, the new PRGF-supported program aims at enhancing macroeconomic stability, with structural reforms focusing on laying the ground work for scaled up aid inflows to support achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As medium-term macroeconomic stability in Sierra Leone hinges critically on fiscal consolidation, structural reforms would in part aim at strengthening the management of public resources and at channeling these resources to poverty-reducing activities. Financial sector reforms, on the other hand, would seek to increase private saving and investment in support of real sector growth.

3. In supporting the authorities’ efforts, the Fund would continue to collaborate closely with the World Bank and other donors. The World Bank has finalized a country assistance strategy (CAS) for 2006–09 and approved in June 2005 the fourth economic recovery and rehabilitation grant (ERRG IV) for Sierra Leone (Appendix III). Other main donors providing budgetary support to the country and technical assistance include the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union (EU), and the U.K. Department for International Development (DfID).

II. Recent Political and Economic Developments

4. During the last PRGF-supported program the authorities made good progress towards macroeconomic stability, but many socio-economic challenges remain. Progress towards lasting peace allowed the full withdrawal of the United Nations mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) at end-2005. The UN will, however, continue to support the country in enhancing political and economic governance and rebuilding national capacity for conflict prevention through the UNIOSIL (UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone), established for the purpose by the Security Council. The successful presidential election in Liberia in October 2005 should also help strengthen stability in the region. Relatedly, the May 2004 local government elections in Sierra Leone also represented an important advance in the government’s strategy to empower local authorities and engage the population in the political process. Poverty, however, remains pervasive, particularly in rural areas, where about 80 percent of the population lives below the equivalent of one U.S. dollar per day.

5. Sierra Leone’s macroeconomic performance during 2001-04 was, on the whole, strong. The government’s broad macroeconomic objectives for these years, as outlined in the PRGF-supported program in 2001,3 included a real GDP annual growth of about 6–7 percent and an inflation of about 5 percent per annum; a significant lowering of fiscal and external current account deficits; and a rebuilding of gross international reserves to 2⅓ months of import cover. Against these objectives, actual performance was as summarized below:4

  • Annual output growth substantially exceeded the program objectives, averaging 15½ percent during the post-conflict period. The recovery was broad-based.
  • After a period of low inflation during 2001–02, reflecting in part the normalization of the economy and improvements in the domestic supply situation, inflation rose during 2003–04 with the annual average exceeding 14 percent in 2004. The increase was due largely to higher fuel costs, expansionary fiscal and monetary policies, and a depreciation of the currency.
  • Fiscal performance improved on the whole, which was due to lower than envisaged expenditures throughout the period. But that reflected in part the overoptimistic assumptions in the original budgets about implementing externally financed development projects. Revenue as a proportion of GDP was, however, generally lower than targeted.
  • External sector objectives were largely achieved. This reflected, for the most part, a strong improvement in export performance, particularly for diamonds. Import growth was lower than envisioned under the program, in part owing to delays in refurbishing the rutile and bauxite mining complexes. At end-2004, gross international reserves had reached 2.9 months of imports.
  • Structural reforms during 2001–04 sought to establish a foundation for sound public finances and the effective conduct of macroeconomic policies, in part through strengthening public sector governance and administrative capacity. Structural reforms also promoted financial intermediation and strengthened the financial system. However, progress in these areas was in part held back by capacity limitations and delays in technical assistance from donors.

6. In 2005, economic expansion continued to be robust, but significant policy challenges remained. During the first three quarters of the year, economic expansion was strong and broad-based, with output growth projected at 7⅓ percent in 2005 as a whole. This reflected increased activity in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction, and services. Inflation in 2005 is projected to average 12.5 percent—lower than in 2004 but higher than envisioned in June 2006 program review (IMF Country Report No. 05/194), fueled to a large extent by higher fuel prices and monetary expansion.5 Prices of essential products were also higher due to temporary supply constraints.6 Inflationary pressures moderated toward year-end, in part assisted by the receipt of donor funding and restrained government outlays in the last quarter of the year.

Figure 1.Sierra Leone: Key Macroeconomic Indicators, 1998–2008

Sources: Sierra Leonenan authorities and Fund staff estimates.

7. There were slippages in fiscal performance in 2005, but the overall fiscal targets for the full year remained achievable. Total domestic revenues fell short of the budget (by about 0.5 percent of GDP) owing to, in particular, shortfalls in custom receipts as a result of shifts in the composition of imports toward lower tariff capital goods. Total expenditure was also below the budgeted level, largely because foreign-financed capital projects were not implemented as envisioned. On the other hand, aggregate recurrent outlays were broadly in line with the budget. However, the wage bill and domestic debt service exceeded budgeted levels at year-end. The increase in the wage bill reflected unbudgeted payments of pension and gratuity pertaining to the restructuring of the police force and military, while the shortfall in poverty outlays (by about 1 percent of GDP) was in part due to weak planning in respect of allocating available fiscal resources to the priority areas.

8. However, the government took corrective actions in the last quarter of 2005 to bring overall fiscal performance broadly in line with the budget. To increase revenue collections, the National Revenue Authority (NRA) is enforcing tax regulations, specifically related to a 10 percent sales tax on local phone calls and a 3 percent advance payment of income tax on importers (MEFP, paragraph 6). The government also committed to closely monitoring fiscal outlays to prevent slippages, while increasing its efforts to raise allocations to poverty-related activities (also, see paragraph 33). Reflecting the tightening of fiscal policies, the deficit for the full year (excluding grants) is expected to be about 3 percentage points lower than in 2004 (in GDP terms). External budgetary support exceeded the targeted amounts and helped to close the remaining fiscal financing gap.7 However, delays in the receipts of external support complicated fiscal management during the year and led to higher-than-envisioned domestic borrowing—which was only reversed toward end-2005.

9. Broad money growth is expected to have exceeded its target. This is, for the most part, due to stronger-than-envisioned expansion of the banking system net foreign assets (reflecting higher-than-anticipated external budgetary support). Credit to the private sector is expected to have remained broadly in line with the projected level.

10. The exchange rate appreciated in real terms in 2005 after a steady depreciation since 2002 (Figure 2; page 42). The nominal exchange rate of the leone vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar has depreciated steadily since the middle of 2002, suggesting that the rate has been managed through the participation of the BSL in the weekly foreign exchange auctions (Figure 3; page 43). The parallel market exchange rate depreciated in line with the official exchange rate and traded at about two percent premium. This in part reflected transactions demand pertaining to informal alluvial diamond trading and capital outflows. In 2005, the official exchange rate against the U.S. dollar remained broadly unchanged in part through the continuous intervention by the BSL, but inflation remained at double-digit levels. As a result, the real exchange rate appreciated.

Figure 1.Inflation and Money Growth, January 2004-November 2005

(In percent; year-on-year changes)

Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates.

Figure 2.Sierra Leone: Nominal and Real Effective Exchange Rates, January 2000 - October 2005 1/

(1995=100)

IMF, Information Notice System.

1/ An increase in the indices implies an appreciation.

Figure 3.Sierra Leone: Official and Parallel Exchange Rates, January 2000 - October 2005

(Leones per U.S. dollar)

Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and staff estimates.

11. Improved export performance continued, but the external current account deficit is projected to have widened in 2005. In particular, diamond exports continued to expand rapidly. Import growth was, however, stronger than anticipated, owing in part to the higher cost of imported fuels as well as capital goods imports associated with the refurbishment of bauxite and rutile mining projects. The current account is, therefore, expected to widen significantly, to 8½ percent of GDP (including official transfers) from about 5 percent in 2004. External gross reserves are projected to reach US$149 million by year-end (about three months of import cover), reflecting better than anticipated external budgetary support.

Figure 2.Sierra Leone: Contributions to Broad Money, 2001-2005Q4

(Annual contributions in percent)

12. Following the implementation of corrective fiscal measures and the receipts of projected external budgetary support, the staff expects the authorities to observe the indicative targets set for end-December 2005 (Appendix I, Attachment II, Table 1), except, as already indicated, for the floors on domestic revenues and poverty-related expenditures, as well as the ceiling on the government wage bill.

Table 1.Sierra Leone: Selected Economic and Financial Indicators, 2001-08
20012002200320042005200620072008
Act.Est.Est.Est.Proj. 1/Rev. Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.
(Annual percentage change, unless otherwise indicated)
Income and expenditure
Real GDP18.227.59.37.47.57.37.46.56.1
GDP deflator1.8-3.68.216.07.613.313.18.78.0
Nominal GDP20.322.818.324.615.821.621.515.714.5
Consumer prices (end of period)3.4-3.111.314.49.015.09.58.57.5
Consumer prices (annual average)2.6-3.77.514.28.512.511.79.08.0
Money and credit
Broad money
(including foreign currency deposits)33.730.126.218.911.616.59.814.615.9
(excluding foreign currency deposits)30.832.025.616.911.612.77.016.118.8
Velocity (level; excl. foreign currency deposits)6.56.15.76.16.36.67.57.47.2
Velocity (level; incl. foreign currency deposits)5.55.24.95.15.35.35.95.95.9
Domestic credit 2/22.57.927.5-2.18.66.45.63.92.9
Government 2/19.40.217.1-10.92.22.21.10.60.2
Private sector 2/3.27.59.78.86.43.94.53.32.8
(annual percentage change)24.662.364.545.227.016.518.712.810.9
Reserve money29.424.922.412.610.59.810.111.812.8
Interest rate 3/14.715.020.228.018.516.9
External sector
Exports (U.S. dollars)6.148.927.417.118.523.032.615.313.5
Imports (U.S. dollars) 4/20.654.415.6-15.717.636.418.810.69.0
Terms of trade (- deterioration)2.40.0-1.9-4.62.4-2.3-3.90.90.1
Real effective exchange rate (- depreciation; end of period)-15.3-9.7-17.2-7.1
(In percent of GDP)
Gross domestic investment6.710.113.910.620.715.015.015.115.2
Government4.44.44.84.67.43.75.26.36.2
Private2.25.79.05.913.311.39.88.89.0
Gross national saving-10.85.36.35.612.76.68.18.38.8
Gross domestic saving-11.6-9.4-7.4-5.03.6-3.6-1.4-0.41.0
Government-4.6-4.3-3.2-1.20.0-0.7-0.20.40.5
Private-7.0-5.1-4.2-3.83.6-2.9-1.2-0.80.5
Current account balance, including official transfers-17.4-4.8-7.6-4.9-8.0-8.5-6.9-6.7-6.3
Current account balance, excluding official transfers-22.0-12.1-14.1-11.6-13.0-14.5-12.4-11.9-11.0
Goods and nonfactor services (net)-19.6-19.5-21.3-15.6-17.2-18.7-16.4-15.5-14.2
Unrequited private transfers and factor services (net)-3.57.17.03.83.93.93.83.43.0
Overall balance of payments1.7-0.3-4.61.4-5.8-1.8-2.4-1.0-0.4
Government domestic revenue13.012.112.412.313.012.212.613.213.6
Total expenditure and net lending29.528.626.924.827.022.022.023.022.8
Of which : recurrent expenditure24.824.222.120.219.118.316.816.716.7
Overall fiscal balance
(commitment basis, excluding grants)-16.5-16.5-14.5-12.5-14.0-9.8-9.4-9.9-9.2
(commitment basis, including grants)-10.6-8.3-6.7-3.5-4.6-1.3-0.5-2.6-2.7
Domestic primary fiscal balance 5/-7.7-7.0-5.6-2.8-2.3-2.2-1.9-1.9-2.0
Domestic financing3.20.94.3-0.10.90.70.30.10.0
Financing gap0.60.0
(In percent of exports of goods and nonfactor services)
Debt service due (incl. to the Fund) after debt relief 6/73.09.37.310.214.710.28.13.46.5
Debt service due (incl. to the Fund) before debt relief86.052.748.138.329.428.118.717.817.3
Net present value of debt-to-exports ratio 7/8/150.6162.3153.6151.3147.3141.4110.7107.5103.6
(In millions of U.S. dollars, unless otherwise indicated)
Memorandum items:
External current account balance, excluding
official transfers-165.0-113.6-139.7-123.7-151.3-173.4-165.5-177.6-184.7
Gross international reserves51.984.659.4124.9123.1148.9153.9173.9193.9
(in months of imports) 9/1.92.51.82.92.83.02.82.93.0
GDP (billions of leones)1,600.21,964.62,323.62,894.33,350.03,518.24,274.04,946.25,664.0
GDP (millions of U.S. dollars)805.6936.0989.61,070.71,136.41,192.61,335.61,487.11,677.7
Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

As in IMF Country Report No. 05/194. Ratios as percent of nominal GDP reflect revised national gross domestic product data.

Changes as a percentage of beginning-of-period money stock (including foreign currency deposits).

Treasury bill rate (end of period); in percent.

Includes imports purchased with bilateral aid, those related to rehabilitation and reconstruction programs, and imports of embassies and the UN peacekeeping force (UNAMSIL).

Domestic revenue minus total expenditure and net lending, excluding interest payments, and externally financed capital expenditure and disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) program.

As percent of exports of goods and services; after Naples (2001) and Cologne flow reschedulings (2002-04), and delivery of full HIPC initiative assistance.

Net present value (NPV) of debt relative to backward-looking three-year average of exports of goods and services.

Assumed unconditional delivery of enhanced HIPC initiative assistance in 2000.

In months of imports of goods and services of subsequent year.

Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

As in IMF Country Report No. 05/194. Ratios as percent of nominal GDP reflect revised national gross domestic product data.

Changes as a percentage of beginning-of-period money stock (including foreign currency deposits).

Treasury bill rate (end of period); in percent.

Includes imports purchased with bilateral aid, those related to rehabilitation and reconstruction programs, and imports of embassies and the UN peacekeeping force (UNAMSIL).

Domestic revenue minus total expenditure and net lending, excluding interest payments, and externally financed capital expenditure and disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) program.

As percent of exports of goods and services; after Naples (2001) and Cologne flow reschedulings (2002-04), and delivery of full HIPC initiative assistance.

Net present value (NPV) of debt relative to backward-looking three-year average of exports of goods and services.

Assumed unconditional delivery of enhanced HIPC initiative assistance in 2000.

In months of imports of goods and services of subsequent year.

III. Main Elements of a PRGF-Supported program for 2006–08

A. Medium-Term Strategy and Objectives

13. Extensive discussions on the medium-term framework for Sierra Leone have recently been conducted through the 2004 Article IV consultations (November 2004), the PRSP (February 2005), and an ex post assessment (June 2005).

14. As highlighted in the PRSP, the medium-term economic strategy for Sierra Leone underscores the acute need to address poverty and to provide a basis for high economic growth. Against the background of continued social stability, the poverty strategy articulated in the PRSP, and endorsed in the EPA report, highlights the importance of nation building (including the need to strengthen law and order and rebuild the basic infrastructure) and macroeconomic stability.

15. Medium-term macroeconomic stability hinges critically on fiscal policy. Fiscal consolidation and the achievement of a better balance between available fiscal resources and budgeted outlays will be central for the policy framework under the PRGF with the view of containing domestic primary deficit at about 2 percent of GDP. In addition, the government needs to shift resources increasingly toward poverty spending. A better fiscal balance would also help reduce the domestic debt burden which at about 30 percent of GDP is expensive to service and crowds out private sector credit.

16. Sustained high growth in Sierra Leone will require significantly higher domestic savings and investment rates.8 Experience in other developing countries suggests that raising the domestic savings rate substantially would take time and therefore only a modest increase (to about 1 percent of GDP) is envisioned during the program period. Investment activity would continue to be financed to a large extent from external sources. In the longer run, Sierra Leone should target a domestic savings rate in the range of 8-10 percent of GDP, which would merely restore its historical average in the mid-1980s (and that would be about half of the average level for sub-Saharan Africa). Financial sector reforms will be instrumental in this regard. As well, private sector development and an improved investment climate will be vital for raising investment levels to support high sustained output growth.

17. Improved governance is being supported by ongoing reforms in the public sector. Promoting good governance is one of the three pillars underpinning the PRSP. The main focus of structural measures in the PRGF-supported program will be on reforms of the public sector and civil service, strengthened capacity for data collection, analysis, and reporting to support policy-making, and strengthened public finance management to assist the budgetary process. The strengthening of the Anti-Corruption Commission will be supported mainly by the DfID in the form of experts and technical assistance. Continued reforms aimed at attracting private sector investment, including in the mineral sector, will be pursued in the coming years, led by the DfID and the World Bank.9 In addition, the government would expand the availability of information on public sector activities in parliament and to the public at large.

18. The focus of structural measures is on strengthening fiscal management to channel resources toward poverty-related spending, and on financial sector reform to promote saving, investment, and growth (Appendix I, Attachment II, Tables 2 and 3). The medium-term structural reform agenda will be driven by the authorities’ vision in the PRSP (Box 1).

Table 2.Sierra Leone: Central Government Financial Operations, 2001-05 1/
20012002200320042005
Q1Q2Q3Q4Full year
Act.Act.Act.Act.Act.Act.Act.Staff reportRev.proj.Staff reportRev.proj.
(In millions of leones, unless otherwise indicated)
Total revenue and grants302,692400,027467,001616,342136,070138,051152,859227,439300,562748,261727,542
Domestic revenue207,669238,691287,657356,96690,345110,296104,414113,523123,293434,982428,347
Income Tax Department54,39562,88175,58197,67626,49426,55033,81228,48435,144112,423122,000
Customs and Excise Department138,181160,589192,379221,59151,04160,00657,59171,12674,385263,430243,023
Mines Department1,1962,0343,0407,7212,7203,2272,5852,7314,46813,65413,000
Other departments7,7126,2626,81113,1254,20313,4104,6905,3112,89623,73325,199
Road user charges6,1856,9259,84716,8535,8867,1035,7365,8706,40021,74125,125
Grants95,023161,336179,344259,37645,72627,75548,445113,916177,269313,279299,194
Program57,268118,199144,843206,17220,76113,59948,44585,960157,708208,314240,512
Of which: HIPC Initiative075,326106,61793,6509,84513,5996,03426,53231,85462,86561,331
Projects37,75643,13734,50153,20424,96514,156027,95619,561104,96558,682
Total expenditure and net lending472,263562,252622,392717,554202,625182,128183,316229,771204,761903,941772,831
Recurrent expenditure397,186474,811509,760583,519149,278149,398176,776163,895167,315640,831642,768
Wages and salaries111,856142,769160,092177,24349,59955,93058,02361,18862,388222,982225,940
Of which: social security payments015,3009,3617,7774,4902,6792,5992,8222,82211,28812,591
Recurrent noninterest, nonwage expenditure186,480227,245234,505247,25049,69454,68071,47369,97176,351258,582252,199
Goods and services136,734154,606192,389191,69033,51036,88557,74655,68261,532197,805189,673
Of which: additional poverty-related outlays010,000020,0000
Of which: security-related expenditures54,62051,44663,09158,79210,07711,99517,73017,42617,42663,06457,227
Of which: defense37,86833,37140,77435,2435,0736,60411,15611,20811,20839,27034,041
Transfers to local councils2,6785,4102,5863,0193,01916,99413,693
Democratization and DDR28,56633,7369,5129,0650000000
Of which : domestic contribution16,75118,0751,00000000000
Grants to educational institutions13,14114,04119,00021,1885,0725,2835,4055,2005,20021,06520,959
Transfers to Road Fund6,1806,9259,84716,8535,8867,1035,7365,8706,40021,74125,125
Socially oriented outlays (soc. safety net)1,36503,0071,8682,548002002009772,748
Elections49517,9377506,5860000000
Interest payments72,796104,797115,163159,02649,98538,78847,28032,73528,576159,267164,629
Domestic44,26351,02064,316103,70824,44029,05527,01521,16117,66195,19398,171
Foreign28,53353,77750,84755,31825,5459,73320,26511,57410,91564,07466,457
Capital expenditure and net lending75,07787,441112,632134,03553,34732,7306,54065,87637,446263,110130,063
Development expenditure71,14485,768112,315134,52253,34732,7306,54065,87637,446263,110130,063
Foreign56,54265,22781,943108,43645,03124,275062,20634,654231,815103,960
Loans43,82353,82755,95564,29720,06610,119034,25015,093126,85045,278
Grants12,71911,40025,98844,13924,96514,156027,95619,561104,96558,682
Domestic14,60220,54130,37226,0868,3168,4556,5403,6702,79231,29526,103
Subsidies3,44945050000000000
Lending minus repayments4841,223-183-4870000000
Overall balance (commitment basis)
Excluding grants-264,594-323,561-334,735-360,588-112,280-71,832-78,902-116,248-81,468-468,959-344,483
Including grants-169,571-162,225-155,391-101,212-66,555-44,078-30,457-2,33295,801-155,680-45,289
Total financing169,571162,225155,391101,21266,55544,07830,4572,332-95,801155,68045,289
Foreign624,766143,73466,764110,77210,02038627,42213,450-5,262106,28932,566
Borrowing95,370141,60593,628150,97120,06610,11930,02734,25015,093156,35075,305
Project43,82353,82755,95564,29720,06610,119034,25015,093126,85045,278
Program51,54787,77837,67386,6740030,0270029,50030,027
Amortization 2/-38,515-48,284-89,590-126,625-53,960-16,603-42,846-25,700-24,780-152,869-138,188
Change in foreign arrears-51,146-25,0930000000
Debt relief obtained 2/3/567,91150,413113,871111,51843,9146,87040,2414,9004,425102,80895,450
Domestic51,79118,600100,104-2,10761,49050,2514,367-22,618-90,53930,89025,569
Of which: bank42,19760156,074-51,63532,50532,368-19,069-9,047-33,50012,35612,304
Privatization receipts2,060472270520001,50003,0000
Change in arrears-533,199-3,586-13,539-7,361-2,973-544-1,33100-4,500-4,848
Unaccounted (– = overfinancing of the budget)24,1523,0041,792-143-1,982-6,0170000-7,999
Financing gap000000010,000020,0000
Memorandum items:
Nominal GDP1,600,1691,964,6272,310,7672,894,2623,518,1543,518,1543,518,1543,518,1543,518,1543,518,1543,518,154
Total HIPC Initiative interim assistance075,326106,61793,6509,84513,5996,03426,53231,85461,92061,331
Total HIPC Initiative interim assistance (as percent of GDP)0.03.84.63.20.30.40.20.80.91.81.7
Total poverty expenditures (percent of tot. expenditures)15.421.422.518.812.713.721.119.324.618.518.1
(in millions of leones)72,833120,555140,158134,69125,74825,02038,76744,42950,279167,471139,814
(In percent of GDP, unless otherwise indicated)
Domestic revenue13.012.112.412.32.63.13.03.23.512.412.2
Total expenditure and net lending29.528.626.924.85.85.25.26.55.825.722.0
Of which: recurrent expenditure24.824.222.120.24.24.25.04.74.818.218.3
Of which: domestic interest expenditure2.82.62.83.60.70.80.80.60.52.72.8
Overall fiscal balance (commitment basis)
Including grants-10.6-8.3 4-6.7-3.5-1.9-1.3-0.9-0.12.7-4.4-1.3
Excluding grants-16.5-16.5-14.5-12.5-3.2-2.0-2.2-3.3-2.3-13.3-9.8
Domestic primary balance 5/-7.7-7.0-5.6-2.8-0.5-0.2-0.9-0.6-0.5-2.2-2.2
(in millions of leones)-123,442-137,876-129,117-84,061-17,264-8,770-31,622-21,307-18,238-77,878-75,894
Domestic financing3.20.94.3-0.11.71.40.1-0.6-2.60.90.7
Domestic debt stock50.244.840.932.627.727.5
Total wages and salaries7.07.36.96.11.41.61.61.71.86.36.4
Total wages and salaries (percent of dom. revenue)53.959.855.749.754.950.755.653.950.651.352.7
Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

Includes the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) program, which is managed outside the budget by a private firm hired by the DDR donors.

Debt-service payments in the 2002 program refer to programmed debt service payments after debt relief granted by Paris Club and other bilateral creditors.

To enhance transparency, actual debt-service payments in 2002 and projections beyond refer to debt service due before debt relief, and debt relief obtained is shown separately as a financing item. Debt relief obtained encompasses a rescheduling on Naples terms following the agreed minutes with the Paris Club from October 2001 onward, Cologne flow rescheduling for 2002-04 agreed by the Paris Club at the decision point in February 2002, and comparable relief by other creditors. Interim HIPC Initiative assistance by multilateral creditors is

Debt relief obtained in 2001 includes rescheduling of outstanding arrears of $239 million by Paris Club and other creditors.

In this presentation of the overall fiscal balance, HIPC Initiative relief is shown as program grants consistent with revised presentation in the balance of payments from 2002 onward. In the 2002 program, HIPC Initiative relief was presented as external.

Domestic revenue minus total expenditure and net lending, excluding interest payments, externally financed capital expenditures, and the DDR program.

Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

Includes the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) program, which is managed outside the budget by a private firm hired by the DDR donors.

Debt-service payments in the 2002 program refer to programmed debt service payments after debt relief granted by Paris Club and other bilateral creditors.

To enhance transparency, actual debt-service payments in 2002 and projections beyond refer to debt service due before debt relief, and debt relief obtained is shown separately as a financing item. Debt relief obtained encompasses a rescheduling on Naples terms following the agreed minutes with the Paris Club from October 2001 onward, Cologne flow rescheduling for 2002-04 agreed by the Paris Club at the decision point in February 2002, and comparable relief by other creditors. Interim HIPC Initiative assistance by multilateral creditors is

Debt relief obtained in 2001 includes rescheduling of outstanding arrears of $239 million by Paris Club and other creditors.

In this presentation of the overall fiscal balance, HIPC Initiative relief is shown as program grants consistent with revised presentation in the balance of payments from 2002 onward. In the 2002 program, HIPC Initiative relief was presented as external.

Domestic revenue minus total expenditure and net lending, excluding interest payments, externally financed capital expenditures, and the DDR program.

Table 3.Sierra Leone: Central Government Financial Operations, 2005-08 1/
2005200620072008
Full yearBudgetQ1Q2Q3Q4
Staff report 5/Rev.proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.
(In millions of leones, unless otherwise indicated)
Total revenue and grants748,261727,542917,526185,676232,445277,719221,6861,008,4101,143,341
Domestic revenue434,982428,347538,808111,409136,990134,897155,512650,954771,250
Income Tax Department112,423122,000163,47035,47340,21443,15644,627198,223235,484
Customs and Excise Department263,430243,023292,67358,53568,77874,63190,729339,134396,844
Mines Department13,65413,00019,2935,3585,1964,4084,33129,73531,563
Other departments23,73325,19931,9664,82014,0085,4797,65942,25754,054
Road user charges21,74125,12531,4067,2238,7947,2238,16641,60453,305
Grants313,279299,194378,71874,26795,455142,82266,174357,457372,091
Program208,314240,512240,47936,44750,624113,79239,616267,319276,213
Of which: HIPC Initiative62,86561,33150,88011,52011,84011,20016,320102,645103,092
Projects104,96558,682138,23937,82044,83129,03026,55890,13895,879
Total expenditure and net lending903,941772,831940,377218,791223,337231,245267,0051,138,3481,293,658
Recurrent expenditure640,831642,768718,124170,015167,550189,069191,491826,341943,579
Wages and salaries222,982225,940265,08966,50065,75067,00065,839299,535331,674
Of which : social security payments11,28812,59114,3653,1603,5913,7353,87916,76819,201
Recurrent noninterest, nonwage expenditure258,582252,199310,36263,13472,09579,60295,531363,697446,684
Goods and services197,805189,673221,41844,13750,54356,01670,722274,711356,112
Of which: additional poverty-related outlays20,00000
Of which: security-related expenditures63,06457,22767,79217,22216,40217,90716,26191,296104,545
Of which: defense39,27034,04141,85911,00010,50010,17910,17956,67364,897
Transfers to local councils16,99413,69321,5643,4504,2056,7907,119
Democratization and DDR000000000
Of which: domestic contribution000000000
Grants to educational institutions21,06520,95927,7746,9446,9446,9446,94431,10035,613
Transfers to Road Fund21,74125,12531,4067,2238,7947,2238,16641,60453,305
Socially oriented outlays (soc. safety net)9772,748200100505001,4431,653
Elections008,0001,2801,5602,5802,58014,8390
Interest payments159,267164,629142,67340,38129,70542,46630,121163,109165,221
Domestic95,19398,17173,96917,66119,46519,42617,41777,73879,042
Foreign64,07466,45768,70422,72010,24023,04012,70485,37186,179
Capital expenditure and net lending263,110130,063222,25248,77555,78642,17675,514312,007350,079
Development expenditure263,110130,063222,25248,77555,78642,17675,514312,007350,079
Foreign231,815103,960178,43137,82044,83129,03066,750231,179246,193
Loans126,85045,27840,19200040,192141,041150,315
Grants104,96558,682138,23937,82044,83129,03026,55890,13895,879
Domestic31,29526,10343,82110,95510,95513,1468,76480,828103,885
Subsidies000000000
Lending minus repayments000000000
Overall balance (commitment basis)
Excluding grants-468,959-344,483-401,568-107,381-86,347-96,348-111,493-487,395-522,408
Including grants-155,680-45,289-22,851-33,1159,10846,474-45,319-129,938-150,317
Total financing155,68045,28922,85133,115-9,108-46,47445,319129,938150,317
Foreign106,28932,566-4,352-6,784-12,672-3,64818,752144,639152,883
Borrowing156,35075,30540,19200040,192141,041150,315
Project126,85045,27840,19200040,192141,041150,315
Program29,50030,0270000000
Amortization 2/-152,869-138,188-136,352-52,320-16,864-36,448-30,720-121,047-123,883
Change in foreign arrears000000000
Debt relief obtained 2/102,80895,45091,80845,5364,19232,8009,280124,644126,451
Domestic30,89025,56914,28240,432-903-47,29222,0457,2612,510
Of which: bank12,35612,3047,41020,216-451-23,64611,2924,2611,510
Privatization receipts3,000015,05605,0005,0005,05624,73128,320
Change in arrears-4,500-4,848-2,135-534-534-534-534-2,135-2,135
Unaccounted (– = overfinancing of the budget)0-7,9990000000
Financing gap20,00000000000
Memorandum items:
Nominal GDP3,518,1543,518,1544,273,9544,273,9544,273,9544,273,9544,273,9544,946,2105,663,985
Total HIPC Initiative interim assistance61,92061,33150,88011,52011,84011,20016,320102,645103,092
Total HIPC Initiative interim assistance (as percent of GDP)1.81.71.20.30.30.30.42.11.8
Total poverty expenditures (percent of tot. expenditures)18.518.122.119.820.628.619.730.435.0
(in millions of leones)167,471139,814207,87343,32045,93466,11552,504346,235453,119
(In percent of GDP, unless otherwise indicated)
Domestic revenue12.412.212.62.63.23.23.613.213.6
Total expenditure and net lending25.722.022.05.15.25.46.223.022.8
Of which: recurrent expenditure18.218.316.84.03.94.44.516.716.7
Of which: domestic interest expenditure2.72.81.70.40.50.50.41.61.4
Overall fiscal balance (commitment basis) 3/
Including grants-4.4-1.3-0.5-0.80.21.1-1.1-2.6-2.7
Excluding grants-13.3-9.8-9.4-2.5-2.0-2.3-2.6-9.9-9.2
Domestic primary balance 4/-2.2-2.2-1.9-0.7-0.3-0.6-0.3-1.9-2.0
(in millions of leones)-77,878-75,894-80,465-29,180-11,811-24,852-14,623-93,107-110,993
Domestic financing0.90.70.30.90.0-1.10.50.10.0
Domestic debt stock27.727.523.123.623.122.523.620.117.6
Total wages and salaries6.36.46.21.61.51.61.56.15.9
Total wages and salaries (percent of dom. revenue)51.352.749.259.748.049.742.346.043.0
Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

Includes the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) program, which is managed outside the budget by a private firm hired by the DDR donors.

To enhance transparency, actual debt-service payments in 2002 and projections beyond refer to debt service due before debt relief, and debt relief obtained is shown separately as a financing item. Debt relief obtained encompasses a rescheduling on Naples terms following the agreed minutes with the Paris Club from October 2001 onward, Cologne flow rescheduling for 2002-04 agreed by the Paris Club at the decision point in February 2002, and comparable relief by other creditors. Interim HIPC Initiative assistance by multilateral creditors is shown as grants.

In this presentation of the overall fiscal balance, HIPC Initiative relief is shown as program grants consistent with revised presentation in the balance of payments from 2002 onward. In the 2002 program, HIPC Initiative relief was presented as external

Domestic revenue minus total expenditure and net lending, excluding interest payments, externally financed capital expenditures, and the DDR program.

Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

Includes the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) program, which is managed outside the budget by a private firm hired by the DDR donors.

To enhance transparency, actual debt-service payments in 2002 and projections beyond refer to debt service due before debt relief, and debt relief obtained is shown separately as a financing item. Debt relief obtained encompasses a rescheduling on Naples terms following the agreed minutes with the Paris Club from October 2001 onward, Cologne flow rescheduling for 2002-04 agreed by the Paris Club at the decision point in February 2002, and comparable relief by other creditors. Interim HIPC Initiative assistance by multilateral creditors is shown as grants.

In this presentation of the overall fiscal balance, HIPC Initiative relief is shown as program grants consistent with revised presentation in the balance of payments from 2002 onward. In the 2002 program, HIPC Initiative relief was presented as external

Domestic revenue minus total expenditure and net lending, excluding interest payments, externally financed capital expenditures, and the DDR program.

19. The authorities’ medium-term fiscal strategy focuses on the following key areas, and is elaborated in the MEFP (paragraphs 16–20):

  • Increased domestic revenue collection. This goal is to be achieved through continued strengthening of the National Revenue Authority; tapping revenues from the mineral sector; introducing a value-added tax (VAT) system with the aim of widening the tax base; significantly narrowing import duty and sales tax exemptions by giving primary responsibility to NRA in this area; and collecting overdue tax liabilities from private and public corporations. These measures, excluding VAT, are estimated to raise domestic revenue collection to about 13.6 percent of GDP by 2008.10
  • Strengthened public expenditure management. Expenditure management has in the past reflected weaknesses, which were also highlighted in the EPA. In particular, the management of the public sector wage bill remained weak while poverty outlays frequently fell short of the program objectives.11 In coordination with the World Bank, and in the context of the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF), the PRGF-supported program will aim at strengthening public expenditure management through structural measures aimed at the wage bill, including personnel and payroll systems; the avoidance of domestic payment arrears and establishing a time table for the clearance of outstanding arrears;12 improving the quality and timeliness of financial audits of the government; and strengthening fiscal and monetary reporting systems to ensure timely reconciliation of data (the Fund is providing technical assistance in this area).
  • Accelerated privatization. This will be an important medium-term objective. Twenty four state-owned enterprises in various economic sectors are being targeted, including financial institutions. The World Bank will assist the authorities in the implementation of the privatization strategy.
  • Strengthened governance and public expenditure management systems for further mobilization and effective management of donor aid flows. Enhanced transparency and accountability in the education and core social sectors will be critically important as will be continued reforms in key ministries. At a more general level, public accounting and auditing functions as well as public expenditure management would need to be strengthened. Part of the increased aid could usefully target these areas.

Box 1.Sierra Leone: Structural Conditionality Under the PRGF Arrangement

1. Coverage of Structural Conditionality in the Current Program

Prior actions focus on the implementation of the deferred structural agenda from the earlier PRGF-supported program. Structural performance criteria and benchmarks for the new PRGF-supported program (Appendix I, Attachment II, Tables 2 and 3) focus on reform areas critical for achieving the program’s objectives and supporting the government’s poverty-reduction efforts. These include:

  • Enhanced management of public resources, including the management of the wage bill, fiscal reporting and data collection, and public financial audits;
  • Improved revenue collection and tax administration, including through the elimination of discretionary tax exemptions and the introduction of a value-added tax system; and
  • Increased private savings and investment in support of sustained high growth through financial sector reforms.

2. Status of Structural Conditionality Included in the Earlier Program

  • Structural conditionality in the earlier PRGF arrangement that expired in June 2005 focused on establishing a foundation for sound public finances, including enhancing governance and administrative capacity; civil service reforms; and reforms to strengthen the transparency of mining sector operations. Structural reforms also aimed at promoting financial intermediation and strengthening the financial system. Improved statistics and data collection were also pursued through various reforms and technical assistance. Reforms in the external sector were limited owing to the relatively liberal trade and exchange regimes. Most of the reforms under the earlier PRGF arrangement were completed, albeit some with a delay, in part reflecting limited capacity to implement these reforms and delays in the provision of technical assistance from donors.

3. Other Structural Reforms

  • World Bank Lending and Conditionality: The World Bank is taking the lead in the reforms related to: (i) economic governance and public finance management (in conjunction with the Fund), including strengthening the budgeting and procurement processes; (ii) civil service reform and decentralization; (iii) privatization and regulatory reforms, including enhancing the investment climate, competitiveness, and trade; (iv) mineral sector reforms; and (v) health and education reforms. The World Bank has also several infrastructure projects in Sierra Leone, which focus on roads, power, and water. A ERRG IV grant was approved by the World Bank Board in June 2005.
  • Structural reforms supported by other core donors (AfDB, DfID, and the EU) focus on institutional reforms in the public sector, in particular in the public finance management; governance reforms and measures aimed at strengthening the legal system; as well as on reforms to improve service delivery in the health and education sectors.

20. The overall fiscal balance is projected to improve slightly over the medium term. The resource envelope is expected to remain broadly unchanged, as the envisioned increase in domestic revenues from 12.2 percent of GDP in 2005 to 13.6 percent in 2008 would be offset by the projected fall (in GDP terms) in external budgetary support. Total expenditures would increase slightly in GDP terms, while recurrent expenditures are projected to fall. Therefore, resources to support higher recurrent poverty expenditures would have to come from savings elsewhere, in particular from the containment of the wage bill. The overall deficit (excluding grants) is expected to improve by about ½percent of GDP by 2008. Domestic financing of the budget is projected to remain small, below 0.3 percent of GDP annually during 2006–08, in part assisted by expected privatization proceeds.

21. The medium-term financial sector strategy is aimed at enhancing the mobilization of domestic savings and increasing access to medium-to-longer term credit (MEFP, paragraphs 21–22). Structural reforms in this area would aim at enhancing confidence, efficiency, as well as expanding the sector’s capacity to offer financial services, particularly in rural areas. In the short-term, specific measures would be needed to address potential solvency and profitability problems in the banking system. Reforms would also focus on the mobilization of longer-term resources through suitable institutions, such as insurance companies and pension funds; specific reforms would be guided by the conclusions of the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), which is now envisioned in early 2006.

22. A number of measures would also aim at strengthening Bank of Sierra Leone’s (BSL) operations. They pertain to improving existing open market operations13 (see paragraph 35) and to widening the menu of instruments to enhance policy effectiveness.14The noncompliance with international financial reporting standards by BSL and the latter’s recapitalization would also need to be addressed over the medium term.

23. Exchange rate flexibility needs to be enhanced (MEFP, paragraph 23). Since Sierra Leone is vulnerable to external shocks, a flexible exchange rate regime is needed to facilitate timely adjustments to external developments. In the past, the BSL has been a major participant in the foreign exchange market, reflecting a persistent shortage of foreign exchange in the post-conflict environment. The central bank should become a less important player as the economic situation normalizes and private participants assume a bigger role. The BSL interventions in the market should only be aimed at meeting the gross reserve target of the program. The BSL should not target a specific exchange rate level.

24. While Sierra Leone’s external outlook is expected to improve over the medium term, substantial financing needs in the balance of payments remain. The outlook will depend on export growth and further debt relief after Sierra Leone reaches the HIPC completion point. In addition to continued growth of officially recorded diamond exports, the recommencement of rutile and bauxite mining will further boost exports. Import growth, on the other hand, is projected to moderate due to the completion of the large mineral sector rehabilitation projects. However, fuel imports are projected to rise in part reflecting increased activity in the mineral sector. As a result, the external current account deficit is expected to narrow to about 6½ percent of GDP (including grants) in 2008 from 8½ percent in 2005.

25. Efforts to diversify and expand exports are being pursued. There is considerable potential for increasing exports outside mining—in agriculture, agro-processing, fishing, and tourism. These labor-intensive activities are also important for job creation. The country is also expected to benefit from ongoing international trade initiatives, including the U.S. African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the EU’s Everything-but-Arms (EBA). The ongoing harmonization of tariffs within ECOWAS would also promote trade within the West Africa region. The World Bank is planning to conduct a diagnostic trade integration study to analyze key constraints to trade and growth and to develop a trade integration action plan consistent with the PRSP. The authorities have also requested funding from the EU to complete an economic impact study, in the context of negotiations on the EU-ECOWAS Economic Partnership Agreement.

B. Medium-Term Macroeconomic Framework

26. Key macroeconomic objectives underlying the medium-term strategy include the maintenance of a sustained high real growth and a stable macroeconomic environment. In this regard, two economic sectors, agriculture and mining, are central for Sierra Leone’s development. Agricultural expansion is a key medium-term objective, given its importance for food security and job creation. Sierra Leone’s considerable mineral endowments will continue to support the balance of payments and output growth, and should be utilized to enhance fiscal sustainability. Mining and related activities would also facilitate job creation.

27. The medium-term macroeconomic framework projects that output growth will stabilize in the range of 6–7 percent by 2008, underpinned by broad-based sectoral growth. Inflation is expected to converge to middle single digits by the end of the period, supported by prudent macroeconomic policies. The gross official reserves are expected to stabilize at 3 months of import cover.

Table 1.Sierra Leone: Medium-Term Indicators, 2005-08(In percent of GDP, unless otherwise indicated)
2005200620072008
Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.
Real GDP (annual percentage change)7.37.46.56.1
Nominal GDP (annual percentage change)21.621.515.714.5
Consumer prices (annual percentage change; end of period)15.09.58.57.5
Consumer prices (annual percentage change; period average)12.511.79.08.0
Broad money (annual percentage change)16.59.814.615.9
Domestic credit (annual percentage change)4.24.03.02.5
Of which: credit to private sector (annual percentage change)16.518.712.810.9
Government domestic revenue12.212.613.213.6
Total expenditure and net lending22.022.023.022.8
Overall fiscal balance
(commitment basis; excluding grants)-9.8-9.4-9.9-9.2
(commitment basis; including grants)-1.3-0.5-2.6-2.7
Domestic primary fiscal balance-2.2-1.9-1.9-2.0
External current account balance
(excluding official grants)-14.5-12.4-11.9-11.0
(including official grants)-8.5-6.9-6.7-6.3
Gross official reserves (in months of imports)3.02.82.93.0
Domestic debt27.523.120.117.6
External debt50.547.145.844.2
Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.
Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

28. Fiscal policy in the medium term will be geared towards containing the primary fiscal deficit at around 2 percent of GDP. This will assist monetary policy in lowering inflation and ensuring that the domestic public debt would remain at a sustainable level. Lower public sector borrowing would also provide scope for expanding private sector credit and contribute to lower domestic interest rates.

29. The debt sustainability analysis (DSA) suggests that Sierra Leone’s external and domestic debt would remain sustainable over the medium term, provided that macroeconomic policies remain adequate and the authorities implement a prudent external financing strategy (Box 2).15 The NPV of external debt-to-GDP and debt-to-export ratios would remain high for a few years after the receipt of final debt relief under the HIPC (in the second half of 2006), placing Sierra Leone at a moderate risk of debt distress (Appendix IV).16 The MDRI is expected to create room to absorb additional donor assistance in the form of concessional loans without undermining debt sustainability. However, since some stress tests, particularly an export shock bound test, indicate sharply higher debt ratios, Sierra Leone’s external financing should continue to be largely in the form of official grants or highly concessional loans. Regarding fiscal debt sustainability (this also incorporates the domestic public debt), staff projects that NPV of debt-to-GDP ratio could be halved by 2025, to about 35 percent, if government’s domestic borrowing is contained. However, debt-to-revenue ratio would stabilize at about 150 percent in the longer-run. 17 In particular, temporary or permanently lower real GDP growth, leading to rapidly rising debt-to-GDP and debt-to-revenue ratios, pose the most significant risk to debt sustainability. Therefore, strong macroeconomic policies in the medium term would be essential.

C. Program for 2006

30. The macroeconomic framework for 2006 envisions steady real GDP growth and lower inflation (Table 1). Real output is expected to grow at 7½ percent, reflecting the restart of rutile and bauxite production and exports, and further expansion of agricultural, manufacturing and service activities. Average inflation is projected to fall only modestly, to 12 percent, with supportive monetary and fiscal policies. However, there would be a more substantial fall in year-on-year inflation, from 15 percent at end-2005 to 9½ percent at end-2006. The external current account deficit (excluding official transfers) is projected to narrow to 12 percent in 2006 from 15 percent of GDP in 2005, reflecting the resumption of rutile and bauxite exports, while import growth is projected to remain moderate.

Box 2.Achieving Debt Sustainability under the MDRI

Sierra Leone will become eligible for the MDRI once it reaches the HIPC completion point. The debt relief under the MDRI would lower Sierra Leone’s NPV of external debt-to-export ratio to 58 percent compared to 111 percent under the baseline scenario in 2006, and the NPV of external debt-to-GDP ratio to 16 percent in 2006 from 31 percent under the baseline scenario. The results in the MDRI scenario are well below the indicative thresholds for low income countries.

Sierra Leone: Debt Indicator After Implementing the MDRI(in percent)
2006 (Proj.)2010 (Proj.)
2005 1/BeforeAfterAfter
Est.MDRIMDRIMDRI
NPV of PPG external debt to GDP 2/88311620
NPV of PPG external debt to exports3641115867
Debt service to exports9762
Source: Staff estimates in the LIC DSA exercise.

Before unconditional HIPC completion point relief.

PPG refer to public and publicly guaranteed external debt.

Source: Staff estimates in the LIC DSA exercise.

Before unconditional HIPC completion point relief.

PPG refer to public and publicly guaranteed external debt.

The staffs of the World Bank and the Fund have classified Sierra Leone as having a moderate risk of debt distress in the context of the DSA (Appendix IV). Debt relief under the MDRI is expected to increase protection against shocks and provide room for concessional borrowing to finance MDG-related outlays. Sierra Leone currently ranks as a weak performer according to the World Bank’s CPIA; therefore, stronger macroeconomic policies and institutions and enhance capacity would be needed to allow more effective absorption of aid. The country needs to periodically review the implication of scaled-up donor assistance on debt sustainability, and continue its efforts to strengthen its debt management capacity.

31. The budget for 2006, which was presented to parliament in November, has been formulated in the context of a medium-term fiscal framework (MEFP, paragraphs 27–33). It reflects existing revenue trends and external support already indicated by traditional donors.

32. Key objectives of the budget are continued fiscal consolidation and increased poverty-related outlays (Tables 2 and 3). Domestic revenues are projected to rise by 0.4 percent of GDP to 12.6 percent as a result of tax collection efforts (0.2 percentage points) and higher royalties from the mineral sector (0.2 percentage points). Total spending would remain at 22 percent of GDP, mainly reflecting higher development outlays while recurrent outlays are projected to decline in GDP terms. The domestic primary deficit would remain at about 2 percent of GDP to reflect the shift toward higher poverty-related spending (projected to rise by 1 percent of GDP from the previous year’s level). The overall deficit (including grants) is projected to narrow to 0.5 percent of GDP. Domestic bank and nonbank financing of the budget are also projected to decline, which would reduce the ratio of domestic debt to GDP.

33. A new framework has been adopted in the context of the 2006 budget that would help allocate scarce resources first to priority areas, in particular to programs that directly address poverty reduction. Shortfalls in external support, together with slower than anticipated utilization of funds earmarked for poverty alleviation, have in the past resulted in deviations from programmed spending targets and complicated fiscal management.18 The proposed framework is intended to address these problems by identifying those resources that may be considered relatively predictable (including domestic revenues, domestic borrowing, and a portion of external budgetary support against which the government may borrow within the context of the PRGF-supported program).19 It is also necessary for the government to strengthen the system to adequately track the utilization of funds related to poverty programs and take remedial actions in respect of underutilization.

34. The management of the wage bill will be strengthened. The wage bill is projected to rise by 17 percent in 2006, in part to accommodate the hiring of additional 3,000 teachers and 1,000 police officers during the year. The rise in salaries also reflects a 10 percent partial adjustment on account of past inflation.20 In order to enhance the management of the wage bill, the government intends to audit the database containing all job grades and salary levels for civil servants and teachers and develop internal guidelines for annual adjustments in salaries within grade ranges (this is a structural performance criterion under the program).

35. The authorities also aim at strengthening the central bank’s operational capacity for conducting monetary policy (Tables 4 and 5; MEFP, paragraphs 34–36). The BSL will conduct monetary policy to meet its reserve money target. In light of this, the central bank will begin to convert balances in the government’s Ways and Means Account to Treasury securities at its discretion while encouraging the government to finance its deficit primarily through the issuance of Treasury securities in the primary market rather than borrowing directly from the central bank. Furthermore, the BSL will eliminate the non-market interest rate (fixed at 20 percent per annum) used for the Ways and Means Account and begin charging a market interest rate on these balances (three-month Treasury bills rate). These changes are expected to improve BSL’s management of reserve money, thereby strengthening BSL’s effectiveness in managing inflationary pressures (inflation is projected to revert to single digit levels by year-end). Money growth in 2006 would be driven mainly by the improvement in net foreign assets, while net domestic credit expansion, including to the private sector, would remain moderate. Government domestic financing would be contained at 0.3 percent of GDP.

Table 4.Sierra Leone: Monetary Survey, December 2001-December 2005(In millions of leones; at actual exchange rates unless otherwise indicated)
20012002200320042005
Dec.Dec.Dec.Dec.Mar.Jun.Sep.Dec.
Act.Act.Act.Act.Proj.Act.Proj.Act.Proj.Act.Proj.Rev. Proj. 4/
Monetary survey
Net foreign assets-202,292-140,521-195,880-103,823-123,416-78,159140,574-98,475-153,483-70,328-88,076-5,417
Net domestic assets493,155519,035673,691671,944699,145705,777715,008742,500737,891732,834722,102667,402
Domestic credit762,458785,300889,340879,411905,504920,094921,392966,064944,320948,184928,414916,050
Claims on government (net)727,016727,617792,362740,471755,846772,976761,651805,344776,874786,275752,827752,775
Claims on government (net) 1/2/194,991195,592261,325209,591224,966242,657230,771275,026245,994255,956221,947222,456
Claims on nonfinancial public enterprises4999633,6613,4533,5033,7313,5033,2763,5035,3553,5535,405
Claims on private sector34,94356,71993,317135,486146,155143,387156,238157,444163,943156,555172,034157,871
Other items (net)-269,302-266,264-215,649-207,467-206,359-214,317206,383-223,564-206,430-215,351-206,312-248,649
Broad money290,864378,514477,811568,120575,730627,618574,434644,025584,408662,506634,027661,985
Money189,437247,478292,950344,523328,195358,925327,456358,132333,141373,249361,427343,023
Quasi money101,427131,037184,861223,597247,535268,692246,978285,893251,266289,257272,600318,962
Bank of Sierra Leone
Net foreign assets-249,587-198,904-274,719-203,878-236,927-208,509268,836-237,406-302,394-195,920-248,787-136,348
Foreign assets115,454191,179168,696365,530345,511344,339364,443360,486330,838393,026371,706436,775
Foreign liabilities-365,041-390,083-443,415-569,409-582,438-552,848633,279-597,892-633,232-588,946-620,493-573,122
Net domestic assets391,690376,345491,936448,501479,968467,540513,748497,634551,925455,145518,996404,936
Claims on government (net)637,163612,623670,622589,194619,069614,711652,874650,801691,097605,390658,050587,890
Claims on government (net) 2/3/105,13880,598139,58558,31488,18984,393121,994120,482160,21775,072127,17057,572
Claims on nonfinancial public enterprises131313131313131313131313
Claims on private sector1,9696,1611,9112,1252,1255,5512,1253,9632,1252,5052,1252,505
Claims on deposit money banks969278593,1633,1631,7823,163343,1362,6863,1632,686
Other items (net)-248,423-242,730-180,670-145,994-144,402-154,517144,426-157,177-144,473-155,449-144,355-188,158
Reserve money142,103177,441217,217244,622243,040259,031244,913260,228249,531259,225270,209268,589
Currency outside banks116,153148,015188,448204,733207,475200,999207,008205,074210,602205,908228,483205,747
Reserves of deposit money banks20,11820,77218,68227,51523,02529,75925,39335,96926,19937,59027,91647,128
Other deposits5,8338,65410,08712,37512,54028,27212,51219,18512,72915,72613,81015,714
Deposit money banks
Net foreign assets47,29558,38378,839100,055113,511130,350128,261138,932148,911125,592160,711130,931
Net domestic assets118,220163,462200,437250,958242,203267,996226,652280,835212,165315,278231,022309,594
Claims on government (net)89,854114,994121,740151,277136,777158,264108,777154,54485,777180,88494,777164,884
Claims on nonfinancial public enterprises4869503,6473,4403,4903,7183,4903,2633,4905,3423,5405,392
Claims on private sector32,97450,55991,406133,362144,031137,837154,113153,480161,818154,050169,909155,366
Reserves17,04721,69620,09927,99923,02534,14525,39332,69126,19938,17927,91647,128
Other items (net)-22,140-24,737-36,455-65,120-65,120-65,967-65,120-63,143-65,120-63,176-65,120-63,176
Total deposits165,516221,845279,275351,013355,714398,346354,914419,766361,076440,871391,733440,525
Local currency deposits119,493166,577207,545257,459260,907276,660260,320280,533264,839317,139287,326313,335
Foreign currency deposits46,02355,26871,73193,55594,808121,68694,594139,23396,237123,732104,408127,189
Memorandum items:Annual percentage growth
Net foreign assets13.1-30.539.4-47.0-41.5-62.9-32.0-52.4-21.1-63.815.2-94.8
Net domestic assets24.45.229.8-0.3-1.1-0.2-2.11.6-1.9-2.67.5-0.7
of which: Claims on government (net)6.20.18.9-6.5-7.6-5.5-8.0-2.7-7.6-6.51.71.7
Broad money33.730.126.218.916.026.59.723.014.818.811.616.5
Reserve money29.424.922.412.612.620.013.120.115.620.010.59.8
Banks’ reserves17.027.3-7.439.315.471.225.761.85.353.5-0.368.3
Banks’ claims on private sector22.053.380.845.944.538.342.942.335.428.927.416.5
Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

New special non-interest-bearing government stocks were issued by the Bank of Sierra Leone to cover foreign exchange valuation losses incurred.

Excluding non-interest-bearing stock.

Including foreign currency deposits.

Items denominated in foreign currencies are valued at end-December 2005 rates.

Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

New special non-interest-bearing government stocks were issued by the Bank of Sierra Leone to cover foreign exchange valuation losses incurred.

Excluding non-interest-bearing stock.

Including foreign currency deposits.

Items denominated in foreign currencies are valued at end-December 2005 rates.

Table 5.Sierra Leone: Monetary Survey, December 2005-December 2008(In millions of leones; at actual exchange rates unless otherwise indicated)
2005200620072008
Dec.Mar.Jun.Sep.Dec.Dec.Dec
Proj. 6/Rev. Proj. 4/Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.
Net foreign assets-5,417-18,7107,78253,88421,160100,576209,533
Net domestic assets667,402698,689713,940692,507705,415732,315756,067
Domestic credit916,050946,354961,605940,172953,080981,4261,005,968
Claims on government (net)752,775772,991772,539748,893760,185764,446765,956
Claims on government (net) 1/2/222,456242,673242,221218,575229,866234,127235,637
Claims on nonfinancial public enterprises5,4055,4555,4555,4555,5055,5555,605
Claims on private sector157,871167,909183,611185,824187,391211,426234,407
Other items (net)-248,649-247,665-247,665-247,665-247,665-249,112-249,901
Broad money661,985679,979721,722746,391726,574832,891965,600
Money343,023345,547366,759375,564361,960423,253510,004
Quasi money318,962334,432354,962370,827364,615409,638455,596
Net foreign assets-136,348-159,241-142,349-105,847-148,171-72,08133,500
Foreign assets436,775435,480445,390502,064452,753519,276586,796
Foreign liabilities-573,122-594,721-587,740-607,911-600,925-591,356-553,295
Net domestic assets404,936436,136430,684405,038443,829402,644339,365
Claims on government (net)587,890618,107612,655587,009625,800586,061523,571
Claims on government (net) 2/3/57,57287,78882,33756,69195,48255,743-6,747
Claims on nonfinancial public enterprises13131313131313
Claims on private sector2,5052,5052,5052,5052,5052,5052,505
Claims on deposit money banks2,6862,6862,6862,6862,6862,6862,686
Other items (net)-188,158-187,175-187,175-187,175-187,175-188,621-189,410
Reserve money268,589276,895288,335299,191295,658330,563372,865
Currency outside banks205,747211,339224,313231,980225,821258,865300,111
Reserves of deposit money banks47,12849,41446,89049,49352,59051,92849,833
Other deposits15,71416,14117,13217,71817,24719,77122,921
Net foreign assets130,931140,531150,131159,731169,331172,657176,033
Net domestic assets309,594311,968330,146336,962314,175381,598466,535
Claims on government (net)164,884154,884159,884161,884134,384178,384242,384
Claims on nonfinancial public enterprises5,3925,4425,4425,4425,4925,5425,592
Claims on private sector155,366165,404181,107183,319184,886208,921231,903
Reserves47,12849,41446,89049,49352,59051,92849,833
Other items (net)-63,176-63,176-63,176-63,176-63,176-63,176-63,176
Total deposits440,525452,499480,277496,693483,506554,255642,568
Local currency deposits313,335315,052334,393342,091329,375385,900466,700
Foreign currency deposits127,189137,446145,884154,602154,131168,355175,868
Memorandum items:Annual percentage growth
Net foreign assets-94.8-76.1-107.9-176.6-490.6375.3108.3
Net domestic assets-0.7-1.0-3.8-5.55.73.83.2
of which: Claims on government (net)1.70.0-4.1-4.81.00.60.2
Broad money16.58.312.112.79.814.615.9
Reserve money9.86.910.815.410.111.812.8
Banks’ reserves68.344.743.429.611.6-1.3-4.0
Banks’ claims on private sector16.520.018.019.019.013.011.0
Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections

New special non-interest-bearing government stocks were issued by the Bank of Sierra Leone to cover foreign exchange valuation losses incurred.

Excluding non-interest-bearing stock.

Including foreign currency deposits.

Items denominated in foreign currencies are valued at end-December 2005 rates.

Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections

New special non-interest-bearing government stocks were issued by the Bank of Sierra Leone to cover foreign exchange valuation losses incurred.

Excluding non-interest-bearing stock.

Including foreign currency deposits.

Items denominated in foreign currencies are valued at end-December 2005 rates.

36. The PRGF-supported program is expected to be fully financed in 2006 (Table 6; MEFP, paragraphs 37–38). The main sources of financing include official grants and concessional loans, and interim HIPC debt relief. The authorities have requested Paris Club creditors to provide debt rescheduling retroactively on Cologne terms from the end of the last consolidation period once the new PRGF arrangement has been approved. In response, in January 18, 2006, Paris Club creditors agreed to provide financing assurances to Sierra Leone in support of its request for the new PRGF arrangement with the IMF. Relationships with other external creditors remain broadly unchanged since the previous PRGF arrangement expired in June 2005.21 The authorities have also made continued efforts to engage external commercial creditors and they are making goodwill payments to some of them (Box 3). No new litigations have been initiated by commercial creditors since the last program review under the previous PRGF arrangement. Preparations are also under way for another IDA debt buyback operation. The staff considers that, in light of collaborative approach the authorities have taken, they have made good-faith efforts to resolve the claims by commercial creditors on external sovereign debt for which servicing is in arrears.

Table 6.Sierra Leone: Balance of Payments, 2002-10(In millions of U.S. dollars, unless otherwise indicated)
20022003200420042005200520062007200820092010
Act. 1/Act.Prog.Est.Prog.Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.
Current account balance-44.6-75.1-120.4-52.6-93.0-101.1-92.3-100.2-106.1-98.0-100.8
Balance on goods-140.1-148.5-177.2-77.0-109.3-128.1-123.0-123.3-120.0-105.2-98.7
Exports, f.o.b.114.8146.3184.6171.3203.6210.7279.5322.2365.6407.9449.7
of which: Rutile0.00.00.00.00.00.047.462.678.896.1113.7
of which: Bauxite0.00.00.00.00.00.010.027.330.333.636.5
of which: Diamonds 2/96.7126.2162.3157.9178.7182.9186.8189.9195.8205.8213.3
of which: Kimberlite0.00.019.017.323.025.040.043.046.448.851.2
Imports, f.o.b.-254.9-294.8-361.8-248.4-312.9-338.8-402.5-445.4-485.7-513.1-548.4
of which: Petroleum products-35.3-46.2-82.3-59.7-113.8-107.5-142.3-159.9-166.8-175.2-183.9
of which: Rice-23.4-23.2-24.6-24.9-22.1-24.0-19.4-19.6-19.7-19.9-20.1
Balance on services-42.4-62.6-65.2-89.8-89.7-94.6-96.5-107.2-117.5-131.7-147.7
Credit38.351.053.867.579.475.992.5106.4120.9133.1146.5
Debit-80.8-113.6-119.0-157.4-169.0-170.5-189.1-213.7-238.4-264.8-294.1
Income-29.2-27.0-27.6-31.4-30.3-31.0-29.8-33.6-37.2-39.1-40.8
Credit18.319.820.321.320.721.722.523.324.125.025.9
Debit-47.5-46.9-47.9-52.7-51.0-52.7-52.3-56.9-61.3-64.1-66.7
Interest payments due before debt relief 3/-26.3-22.8-21.5-21.4-22.7-24.4-22.5-24.3-23.4-22.4-21.4
Current transfers167.2163.0149.7145.7136.3152.5157.1163.8168.6178.0186.4
Public (net) 4/69.064.764.971.258.372.373.377.478.781.083.8
of which: HIPC grants35.845.435.035.021.321.017.130.930.531.232.2
Private (net) 5/98.298.484.874.577.980.283.786.389.896.9102.4
Current account balance, excl. public transfers-113.6-139.7-185.2-123.7-151.3-173.4-165.5-177.6-184.7-179.0-184.7
Capital and financial account41.729.793.167.825.879.759.985.699.996.694.7
Capital account7.616.428.228.237.822.220.929.631.032.734.8
Project grants5.514.226.126.135.619.918.527.128.430.032.0
Private capital transfers2.12.22.22.22.32.32.42.52.62.72.8
Financial account34.113.364.939.6-12.057.539.056.068.963.960.0
Direct investment and portfolio investment 6/1.721.029.512.527.239.126.217.519.523.124.2
Other investment32.4-7.735.427.1-39.218.412.838.549.440.835.8
Public sector loans (net)43.910.841.443.21.313.8-5.416.017.818.825.1
of which: disbursements66.848.488.490.353.161.737.252.454.556.861.1
of which: program loans40.915.929.531.310.118.70.010.010.010.012.0
of which: project loans25.932.558.958.943.043.037.242.444.546.849.1
of which: amortization due before debt relief 7/-22.9-37.5-47.0-47.0-51.8-47.9-42.6-36.4-36.7-38.0-36.0
Private sector loans (net) 8/0.00.026.438.45.615.622.910.022.216.63.7
Change in net foreign assets of commercial banks-5.3-8.7-17.4-7.8-20.6-16.7-19.0-1.0-3.0-8.0-8.0
Other, including errors and omissions-6.2-9.8-15.0-46.8-25.55.714.313.512.413.415.0
Overall balance-2.9-45.4-27.215.3-67.2-21.4-32.4-14.6-6.2-1.4-6.1
Financing2.945.427.2-15.367.221.432.414.66.21.46.1
Change in net foreign assets of the central bank (- increase)-27.710.2-4.9-47.414.6-11.7-9.4-35.5-43.9-47.5-54.7
Change in reserve assets (- increase)-32.325.2-22.5-65.51.8-24.1-5.0-20.0-20.0-20.0-15.0
Net Fund credit4.6-15.117.618.112.812.3-4.4-15.5-23.9-27.5-39.7
Disbursements36.019.641.141.221.620.70.00.00.00.00.0
Repayments-31.4-34.6-23.5-23.1-8.7-8.4-4.4-15.5-23.9-27.5-39.7
Exceptional financing30.635.232.132.134.933.20.00.00.00.00.0
Change in arrears (+ increase) 9/6.7-13.8-9.5-9.50.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Debt relief 10/23.949.141.641.634.933.20.00.00.00.00.0
Financing gap0.00.00.00.00.00.041.750.150.148.960.7
Debt relief 10/11/0.00.00.00.00.00.028.737.537.536.338.6
Fund disbursement under new PRGF0.00.00.00.00.00.013.012.612.66.30.0
Remaining gap0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.06.322.1
Memorandum items:(in percent of GDP)
Current account-4.8-7.6-11.5-4.9-8.0-8.5-6.9-6.7-6.3-5.4-5.1
Current account, excluding public transfers-12.1-14.1-17.7-11.6-13.0-14.5-12.4-11.9-11.0-9.8-9.3
Overall balance of payments-0.3-4.6-2.61.4-5.8-1.8-2.4-1.0-0.4-0.1-0.3
Exports, f.o.b.12.314.817.716.017.617.720.921.721.822.422.6
Imports, c.i.f.31.735.040.726.431.632.434.434.133.032.131.5
Gross official reserves (in millions of US dollars)84.659.481.9124.9123.1148.9153.9173.9193.9213.9228.9
Gross official reserves (in months of imports)2.51.82.02.92.83.02.82.93.03.03.1
Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

BOP data for 2002 were compiled for the first time on the basis of the Balance of Payment Manual Fifth Edition (BPM5), which has led to a number of significant changes including a better measurement of non-dutiable imports and private transfers through the use of new surveys.

Includes unrecorded diamond exports estimated from partner-country data.

Official interest payments due, including Fund charges.

Includes mostly program grants.

Includes worker remittances and transfers to NGOs.

Includes investment related to the rehabilitation of the Koidu Kimberlite mine and assumes investment into rutile mining, financed by foreign loans, foreign investment, and government on-lending of an EU grant.

Amortization due increases in 2003 and beyond because of debt service payments falling due on previously rescheduled arrears.

Includes capital outflows associated with unrecorded diamond exports, and change in trade credits.

The arrears accumulation in 2002 is due to technical arrears that were accumulated while negotiations with bilateral creditors on rescheduling were not yet concluded. The arrears reduction in 2003 results from the implementation of arrears rescheduling agreements with the EU, the Saudi Fund for Economic Development, and the OPEC Fund. In 2004, arrear clearance operations with the EU and the OPEC Fund are completed.

This reflects the rescheduling on Cologne terms for the period 2002-05 agreed by the Paris Club at the decision point in February 2002, and assumptions of the extended consolidation period retroactively from July 2005 under the new PRGF program. Comparable relief by other creditors is assumed.

Includes Japanese Debt cancellation under the TDB Resolution.

Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

BOP data for 2002 were compiled for the first time on the basis of the Balance of Payment Manual Fifth Edition (BPM5), which has led to a number of significant changes including a better measurement of non-dutiable imports and private transfers through the use of new surveys.

Includes unrecorded diamond exports estimated from partner-country data.

Official interest payments due, including Fund charges.

Includes mostly program grants.

Includes worker remittances and transfers to NGOs.

Includes investment related to the rehabilitation of the Koidu Kimberlite mine and assumes investment into rutile mining, financed by foreign loans, foreign investment, and government on-lending of an EU grant.

Amortization due increases in 2003 and beyond because of debt service payments falling due on previously rescheduled arrears.

Includes capital outflows associated with unrecorded diamond exports, and change in trade credits.

The arrears accumulation in 2002 is due to technical arrears that were accumulated while negotiations with bilateral creditors on rescheduling were not yet concluded. The arrears reduction in 2003 results from the implementation of arrears rescheduling agreements with the EU, the Saudi Fund for Economic Development, and the OPEC Fund. In 2004, arrear clearance operations with the EU and the OPEC Fund are completed.

This reflects the rescheduling on Cologne terms for the period 2002-05 agreed by the Paris Club at the decision point in February 2002, and assumptions of the extended consolidation period retroactively from July 2005 under the new PRGF program. Comparable relief by other creditors is assumed.

Includes Japanese Debt cancellation under the TDB Resolution.

37. Regarding structural reforms, the unfinished reform agenda from the previous program has been addressed upfront in the new PRGF-supported program (Appendix I, Attachment II, Tables 2 and 3; and MEFP, paragraph 39). These prior actions are envisaged to ensure continued improvements in the efficiency and transparency of government operations—through the strengthening of the Auditor General’s office, reforms in key ministries, and streamlining human resource management. In addition, the authorities are expected to make further progress in systematically incorporating mineral revenue projections in the overall fiscal framework, and in consistently reporting monetary and fiscal data (related to the latter, a new fiscal and monetary reporting system will be implemented in early 2006 as a structural performance criterion).

38. Further structural reforms in 2006 will aim at containing the wage bill to protect poverty-related expenditures, and at ascertaining the financial health of the commercial banking system. An audited database for all civil service job grades and guidelines for wage and salary increases are required as a performance criterion. An assessment by the BSL of commercial bank capitalization and credit quality is also a performance criterion. Among structural benchmarks, an action plan to implement the Budgeting and Accountability Act, and the establishment of internal audit units in key ministries are aimed at strengthening the public expenditure management system. The authorities also intend to review existing tax and tariff exemptions and approve a plan to minimize their use.

Box 3.Review of Financing Assurances—Commercial Creditors

The first IDA debt buyback was conducted in 1995 eliminating about US$235 million in debt. However, there remains outstanding commercial debt due to the nonparticipation of some creditors in the buyback program. In addition, the authorities continue to receive claims from commercial creditors. To date, total commercial creditors’ claims, validated and non-validated, have reached about US$250 million.

Most of those commercial creditors have recently remained passive, and there is no new litigation initiated since the last review of financing assurance completed at the time of the sixth review of the previous PRGF-supported program. The authorities have engaged those creditors repeatedly, and continued to make good-will payments of small amounts in local currency to some creditors that are operating in the country. However, they have failed to reach long-term debt rescheduling agreements that would be comparable to the signed Paris Club agreements on Cologne terms and consistent with the HIPC Initiative.

To address the situation, preparations are being made for a second debt buyback supported by the Debt Reduction Facility of the World Bank for IDA-only countries. The authorities have already initiated a selection of legal advisors, and are continuing a validation process, aiming at conducting the buyback at the HIPC completion point, which is expected in the second half of 2006. The authorities expect that this will be the final debt buyback needed.

The proposed PRGF-supported program assumes no new financing from commercial sources. The existence of arrears to commercial creditors does not undermine program implementation, and does not put the recovery of the Fund’s credits at risk.

IV. Poverty Reduction Strategy

39. In order to reach the HIPC completion point and to receive final debt relief under the HIPC Initiative, Sierra Leone has to be on-track with a current PRGF arrangement as well as satisfy the HIPC completion point triggers. The government has made substantial progress towards meeting the triggers. Implementation of the full PRSP started in mid- 2005. A key remaining one relates to the implementation of the PRSP, and the government has accelerated this in the context of the 2006 budget (Table 7).22 It is envisioned that the government could reach the completion point under the HIPC Initiative during the second half of 2006.

Table 7.Sierra Leone: Status of HIPC Initiative Completion Point Triggers(As of October 2005)
TriggersStatus
PRSP. Preparation of a full PRSP and implementation for at least one year, as evidenced by the satisfactory joint staff assessment of the PRSP and the country’s annual progress report.Partially met. The PRSP was presented to the World Bank and Fund in February 2005. The implementation of the PRSP started in July 2005, and the 2006 budget was framed in the context of the PRSP activities.
Macroeconomic stability. Continued maintenance of macroeconomic stability as evidenced by satisfactory implementation of the PRGF-supported program.Fully met. The sixth and final review of the PRGF was concluded in June 2005. Discussions with the IMF on a successor PRGF were conducted in October 2005.
Use of budgetary savings. The budgetary savings from interim debt-service relief in 2002 have been used in the priority areas indicated in Table 2 of the Enhanced Initiative for HIPC—Decision Point Document and monitored in the framework for poverty-reduction expenditures. The increase in total spending on these priorities will be proportionate to HIPC Initiative relief. Budgetary savings from interim debt-service relief in subsequent years will be used in accordance with the agreed annual budgets for those years.Partially met. Budgetary savings from the interim HIPC relief allowed government to more than double expenditures on poverty reducing programs and projects relative to the level of spending in 2001. However, shortfalls and delays in the receipt of non-HIPC external assistance has reduced spending below the budgeted in all categories, including poverty programs (by about 20 percent less than the level of spending if all HIPC savings during 2002-04 had been fully applied to poverty-reducing programs).
Governance and decentralization of government functions
Completion of disarmament and demobilization, and provision of reintegration assistance to all former combatants under the DDR program.Fully met. By the end of February 2004 over 56,000 ex-combatants had received financial and material support for reintegration into active community life.
Bi-annual tracking of public expenditures on priority areas within the PETS framework, including development expenditures, dissemination, and publication of results.Partially met. The report of the FY2003 PETS on Education, Health, and Agriculture has been published. The PETS for FY2004 expenditures was conducted in September 2005. The data collected are being processed and analyzed. A draft report is expected to be available in January 2006.
Adoption and implementation of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), and budget system for tracking expenditures at the regional levels.Fully met. Government began publishing the annual budget in the context of the MTEF in 2002. The expenditure codes for the Financial Management Information System include regional designations.
Structural measures
A Bill has been passed to introduce new privatization legislation that establishes an independent National Commission for Privatization to implement the government’s divestiture strategy that was approved by the Cabinet in May 2000.Fully met. The National Commission for Privatization (NCP) Act was enacted in November 2002. The NCP is mandated to divest government ownership and control over these and other public enterprises. The Commission completed its divestiture plan in September 2003 and issued a revised plan in December 2004.
Adoption by the government of a revised mining policy to promote formal activities (including artisanal mining) and attract private investment for medium- and large-scale mining.Fully met. The Ministry of Mineral Resources (MMR) adopted a new Core Mineral Policy in late 2003. The MMR has subsequently formed a technical sub-committee of the Law Reform Commission to identify and propose changes in the legal and regulatory framework for consistency with the new Core Mineral Policy.
Eduacation
The primary gross enrollment rates for girls will have been increased to at least 65 percent.Fully met. The gross enrollment rate for girls in primary school in 2004/05 school year is approximately 152 percent.
At least 1,500 unqualified teachers will have received formal in-service training in primary schools and at least 500 unqualified will have received in-service training in secondary schools.Partially met. In-service training for unqualified teachers in primary schools was 3,240 teachers (1,700 under REBEP and 1,540 with UNICEF). In-service training for unqualified teachers in secondary schools was completed for only 150. As part of the Sababu Education Project, an additional 1,488 unqualified teachers were trained in August 2005. A further training for unqualified teachers is scheduled for November 2005 and this will include teachers in secondary schools.
Health
Distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets will have increased from 18,482 in 2000 to 60,000.Fully Met. Concerted efforts of government of Sierra Leone, UNICEF, World Bank, and AfDB, have led to the distribution of 250,000 bed nets this year. Through October 2005, UNICEF had distributed 143,289 insecticide-treated bed nets and they expect to increase this number to 250,000 in 2006. The EU intends to distribute 30,000 bed nets in 3 districts in 2006 while the World Bank will distribute 160,000 (60,000 to under five and pregnant mothers and 100,000 for social marketing) bed nets in 2006.
At least 200 persons, including professionals and staff from line ministries and health and civil society organizations, will have been provided by the National HIV/AIDS Secretariat with HIV/AIDS and STIs education and training on prevention and basic care, in order to encourage HIV/AIDS and STIs avoidance behavior, destigmatize the disease, and support those infected or otherwise affected by the disease.Fully Met. 495 health staff trained on management of STIs. 454 health staff trained on Medical Waste Management. 476 health staff trained on management of opportunistic infections. 147 health staff trained on VCCT on HIV/AIDS. 102 health staff trained on PMTCT on HIV/AIDS. 25 health staff trained on sentinel monitoring of HIV/AIDS.

  • Number of clients who visited VCCT(Voluntary Confidential Counseling and Testing) services: 2005 Total = 10,904
  • Number of clients who visited PMTCT (Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission) services: 2005 Total = 8,295
  • Number of PLWHAs receiving ARVs: 2005 Total = 491
Immunization coverage (percentage of children aged 12 to 23 months immunized against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus) will have increased to at least 55 percent.Partially met. Immunization coverage for children aged under 12 months against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT third immunization) through September 2005 was 105,371 of a total population of 229,088 (about 46 percent). Figures for the age group 12 to 23 months are obtained from surveys (the latest survey was carried out in 2001).

40. Donors confirmed their continued support to Sierra Leone in the Consultative Group meeting in November 2005, but the implementation of the full PRSP requires a clear prioritization of poverty outlays. Pledges by donors, mainly in the form of project grants, are estimated to have totaled US$800 million for the period 2005–07, to finance PRSP-related activities. This represents a nominal increase of about 25 percent compared to the level committed at the previous Consultative Group meeting in 2002. Relatively few new resources were pledged in the meeting, although nontraditional donors indicated that additional support could be forthcoming. Reflecting the substantial resource gap that remains, estimated at about US$150 million per year (13 percent of 2005 GDP), the authorities need to effectively prioritize the PRSP outlays.

41. Beyond the PRSP, the challenges to reach the MDGs are formidable. Sierra Leone’s low starting point after a decade-long conflict combined with the enormous institutional and financial requirements suggest that achieving the MDGs by 2015 is unlikely, except, perhaps, in the area of education. There are no cost estimates for meeting the MDGs, but it is clear that this task would require a sustained large-scale financing from donors. Substantial additional resources could be available to Sierra Leone, however, once it reaches the HIPC Initiative completion point. Additional debt relief could become available in the context of the MDRI.

42. The authorities acknowledged the policy challenges associated with a substantial increase in aid flows. The need for scaled up aid has been indicated both in the context of financing the PRSP and for approaching the MDGs. Related to this, the staff emphasized to the authorities the importance of continued tax effort (Box 4) in order to support the government’s poverty-reduction efforts as well as to pave way to a gradual exit from aid dependency. The staff also underscored that macroeconomic stability would be critical with substantially increased aid flow. The authorities plan to implement fiscal policy in the medium-term context, with a view to maintaining a sustainable fiscal position. Monetary policy would be aimed at supporting macroeconomic stability and would target a reduction in inflation to single digits in the medium term. However, the BSL’s capacity to sterilize large inflows remains limited. Therefore, in order to support monetary management while allowing aid to be spent and absorbed, the central bank may need to sell foreign exchange in the market and allow some real appreciation in the exchange rate. The central bank would also target higher official reserves in the medium term. Increased aid inflows are projected to lead to a larger external current account deficit, partly in response to real appreciation of the exchange rate (either nominal or through higher inflation), while higher real activity levels and the high dependence on imported capital and intermediate goods would also raise the demand for imports. Public sector debt sustainability should be monitored closely—the staff analysis suggests that external financing should be in the form of official grants or at highly concessional terms.23

43. The scaled up aid assumes significantly higher expenditures including poverty outlays. The procurement procedures, including in the social and health sectors, are being strengthened. The staff advised the authorities that increased aid should be appropriately spent and absorbed, while national and local institutions need to be strengthened to facilitate the absorption of targeted spending. The staff estimates that real growth could be higher by 2 percentage points under the scaled up scenario (by 2010), reflecting positive effects on output growth associated with spending on health and education. The authorities would maintain a liberal trade regime and increase allocations to infrastructure spending, as indicated in the PRSP, in order to raise productivity, contain inflationary pressures, and support export-led growth.

V. Prior Actions, Program Monitoring, and Capacity to Repay to the Fund

44. It is envisaged that the framework for monitoring quantitative performance under the new PRGF-supported program will remain broadly the same as under the previous program. Quantitative performance criteria subject to the first review under the PRGF arrangement will be set for end-March 2006, scheduled for completion before end-August 2006, and those subject to the second review will be set for end-September 2006, scheduled for completion before end-February 2007. Indicative targets will be set for end-June and end-December 2006. (Appendix I, Attachment II, Table 4).

45. The authorities have implemented the following prior actions from the unfinished agenda from the previous PRGF arrangement (Appendix I, Attachment II, Table 2):

  • A Deputy Auditor General has been appointed.
  • Action plans to reform five key ministries are under execution, and Cabinet has approved the sixth action plan for the ministry of local government.
  • Cabinet has approved a plan for transforming the Establishment Secretary’s Office into a Human Resources Management office.
  • Medium-term revenue projections have been made for each major mineral and incorporated in the overall fiscal framework.
  • All government units and accounts that will be included in the new reporting system for monetary and fiscal data have been identified, and benchmark annual data for 2004 established.

46. In addition, the authorities plan to meet three structural performance criteria during 2006, comprising the launching of a new fiscal and monetary reporting system, the updating and auditing of the database containing all job grades and salary levels for all civil servants and teachers and obtaining cabinet approval of guidelines for annual salary adjustments within grade ranges, and the finalization of an assessment of bank capitalization and credit quality for all commercial banks (Appendix I, Attachment II, Table 2).

Box 4:Scaling Up Scenario

To highlight the macroeconomic implications of scaling up, staff has developed an illustrative scenario that assumes a doubling of program and budget support in U.S. dollar terms over a five-year period, from about US$140 million at end-2005, and staying at that higher level until 2015. In GDP terms, the rise would be from 8 percent of GDP in 2005 to about 11 percent over 2006–10, followed by a gradual decline to about 9 percent by 2015. Under the scaled up scenario, there would be significantly higher expenditures and poverty outlays by 2010 (as aid would be fully absorbed and channeled toward poverty-related programs). Furthermore, domestic revenue efforts would be sustained. A higher sustained rate of output growth is envisioned, as public spending on health and education, together with infrastructure investments, would be expected to enhance Sierra Leone’s growth potential. Inflation would also be slightly higher, owing in part to the increased level of public spending. The external current account deficit would widen substantially due to increased import demand associated with the scaling up (partly reflecting the high import content of development spending). A modest appreciation of the real effective exchange rate is also projected in the scaling up scenario.

20042005BaselineScaled Up
Act.Rev. proj.2010201520102015
(In percent of GDP, unless otherwise indicated)
Government domestic revenue12.312.214.014.314.014.3
Total expenditure and net lending24.821.822.621.327.823.8
Of which : recurrent expenditure20.218.116.314.718.915.6
Of which : wages and salaries6.16.45.55.56.85.9
Overall fiscal balance
(excluding grants)-12.5-9.6-8.6-6.9-13.7-9.4
(including grants)-3.5-1.9-2.5-2.6-9.6-8.0
Domestic primary fiscal balance-2.8-2.0-2.0-2.6-5.0-3.8
Current account balance, including official transfers-4.9-8.5-5.1-5.1-8.5-7.3
Current account balance, excluding official transfers-11.6-14.5-9.3-7.8-15.2-11.7
Net present value of external debt-to-export ratio151.3141.497.487.4107.294.6
(in percent of exports of goods and nonfactor services)
Memorandum items:
Poverty outlays (excluding wages and salaries)4.73.88.08.011.810.0
(Annual percentage change, unless otherwise indicated)
Real GDP7.47.36.65.88.17.8
Real GDP per capita (in U.S. dollars at 1990 prices)107112140170148197
Consumer prices (period average)14.212.56.85.87.86.3
Memorandum item
Grants and loans (percent of GDP)14.19.810.27.415.49.9
Program and project grants and loans10.98.18.66.913.79.4
HIPC grants3.21.71.60.61.60.6

47. Identified gross financing needs are estimated to average around US$244 million each year during 2006–08; support from the Fund and other donors is therefore needed to close the remaining financing gap (Table 8). The staff proposes that access under the PRGF arrangement be set at 30 percent of Sierra Leone’s quota (SDR 31.11 million).24 This will increase the Fund’s exposure to Sierra Leone slightly over the medium term beyond current debt service projections25 while ensuring that the net present value of debt-to-export ratio (after HIPC relief) remains sustainable (see paragraph 29 on DSA). Sierra Leone is eligible for debt relief under the MDRI, after it has reached the HIPC completion point; this is expected to substantially lower debt service to the Fund.

Table 8.Sierra Leone: External Financing Requirements and Sources, 2001-2010(In millions of U.S. dollars)
2001200220032004200520062007200820092010
Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.
Current account
(excluding interest and official transfers)-150.2-87.2-116.9-102.3-149.0-143.1-153.3-161.3-156.6-163.3
Debt-service obligations (before relief)111.080.794.991.680.669.476.284.087.997.0
Interest14.826.322.821.424.422.524.323.422.421.4
Amortization96.254.372.170.256.347.051.960.665.575.6
of which IMF75.431.434.623.18.44.415.523.927.539.7
Reduction of arrears 1/239.1-6.713.89.50.00.00.00.00.00.0
Increase in gross reserves13.932.3-25.265.524.15.020.020.020.015.0
Gross financing requirement-514.1-193.5-200.5-268.9-253.7-217.5-249.5-265.3-264.5-275.3
Identified disbursements514.1193.5200.5268.9253.7217.5249.5265.3258.2253.2
Loans for balance of payments support93.576.935.472.539.413.022.622.616.312.0
IMF59.636.019.641.220.713.012.612.66.30.0
World Bank/IDA27.528.515.916.90.00.010.010.010.012.0
African Development Bank6.312.30.014.518.70.00.00.00.00.0
Grants41.074.578.897.292.191.8104.5107.1111.0115.8
Program22.353.759.271.272.373.377.478.781.083.8
Of which: HIPC Initiative grants0.035.845.435.021.017.130.930.531.232.2
Project18.620.819.726.119.918.527.128.430.032.0
Project loans22.925.932.558.943.037.242.444.546.849.1
Foreign direct investment & private sector loans-12.01.621.050.954.742.139.344.539.727.9
Debt relief 2/255.923.949.141.633.228.737.537.536.338.6
Other capital, including errors and omissions112.8-9.3-16.4-52.4-8.74.73.29.28.19.8
Remaining Financing gap 3/0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0-6.3-22.1
Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and staff estimates and projections.

Rescheduling of arrears by the Paris Club; assumes comparable treatment by other creditors, including military contractors.

Include Naples flow rescheduling provided by the Paris Club in October 2001, Cologne flow rescheduling for 2002-05 agreed by the Paris Club at the decision point in February 2002, and retroactive extention of Cologne flow terms until the HIPC completion point in 2006. Comparable relief by other creditors are also assumed. For 2001, the amount includes the rescheduling of arrears of $239.1 million.

After identified disbursements, debt reschedulings, HIPC Initiative assistance, and short-term capital movements.

Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and staff estimates and projections.

Rescheduling of arrears by the Paris Club; assumes comparable treatment by other creditors, including military contractors.

Include Naples flow rescheduling provided by the Paris Club in October 2001, Cologne flow rescheduling for 2002-05 agreed by the Paris Club at the decision point in February 2002, and retroactive extention of Cologne flow terms until the HIPC completion point in 2006. Comparable relief by other creditors are also assumed. For 2001, the amount includes the rescheduling of arrears of $239.1 million.

After identified disbursements, debt reschedulings, HIPC Initiative assistance, and short-term capital movements.

48. A key risk during the medium-term arises from the high dependency of the budget on external support. This risk could be compounded by inadequate donor coordination. Furthermore, the authorities need to significantly strengthen macroeconomic management, address governance issues, and improve transparency during the coming years to facilitate necessary progress.

VI. Other Issues

49. The coverage and consistency of statistics will continue to be addressed in the context of the program (Appendix V). The importance of adequate statistics in monitoring progress in implementing the PRSP is fully recognized by the authorities (JSAN; IMF Country Report No. 05/193). The PRSP also incorporates elements of the General Data Dissemination Standards (GDDS). Moreover, a new framework for fiscal and monetary data reporting will be operationalized, supported by Fund technical assistance. A general plan for improving statistics was costed and the total costs have been incorporated in the medium-term expenditure program of the PRSP. It is expected that Sierra Leone’s participation in the GDDS will assist in enhancing the quality of data, especially in the area of the national accounts, and that its statistical infrastructure will benefit from enhanced domestic and external support.

50. A safeguards assessment in the context of the proposed PRGF arrangement has been initiated by the Fund. The latest safeguards assessment was completed in July 2002.

VII. Staff Appraisal

51. In the context of the previous PRGF-supported program, the authorities have made substantial progress in laying the foundation for sustained real growth and poverty reduction. In addition, they have managed the period following the expiration of the previous PRGF arrangement in a manner that has demonstrated determination to move towards indicative targets set for 2005 as a whole. There were slippages in fiscal performance in the course of the year, but the government took corrective actions during the last quarter to bring performance in line with the budget. The authorities have also implemented several prior actions from the unfinished agenda from the previous PRGF-supported program.

52. The objectives of the authorities’ medium-term program are realistic and well founded in the full PRSP. For a post-conflict country in particular, the emphasis on nation building, the restoration of macroeconomic stability, and fiscal management centered on poverty-reduction is appropriate. These are to be supplemented by policies to strengthen the financial sector for enhancing private savings and investment. Progress has also been made in implementing the PRSP, which should facilitate the reaching of the HIPC Initiative completion point sometime this year, and access to additional resources under the MDRI. Relatedly, the reconfirmation of future support by Sierra Leone’s main donors, at the Consultative Group meeting last November, augurs well for the mobilization of external resources for supporting growth and poverty reduction.

53. Beyond these domestic and international efforts, several areas will be critical for a successful implementation of the new program under the PRGF arrangement. First, fiscal consolidation will be essential for safeguarding macroeconomic stability. The authorities need to further strengthen domestic revenue efforts, including in the mineral sector, through improvements in tax and customs administration, the reduction or elimination of tax exemptions, and the broadening of the tax base—especially via the introduction of a value-added tax. Expenditures should be better prioritized and adequately monitored to avoid unplanned domestic financing of the budget and unsustainable growth in domestic debt.

54. Second, fiscal management needs further strengthening in systematically identifying predictable resources and allocating them to priority spending. The practice, started in the context of the 2006 budget, of initially allowing for partial projected budgetary support and of allocating the predictable resource envelope to priority spending should be institutionalized, as it would assist stability while protecting poverty-related spending. The latter should also be helped by measures aimed at containing the growth of the wage bill.

55. Third, the effectiveness of monetary policy should be improved through improving the instruments of the BSL. In this regard, the ongoing Fund technical assistance in the areas of open market operations and liquidity forecasting has been helpful. Envisaged measures to strengthen the BSL, including through adequate capitalization, are also important in enhancing the ability of the central bank to effectively conduct its day-to-day monetary operations. In this context, the BSL needs to take additional steps towards implementing the recommendations of the 2002 safeguards assessment mission, including the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards.

56. Fourth, the authorities need to enhance exchange rate flexibility to facilitate timely adjustments to external developments. The exchange rate level is judged to be broadly appropriate, given that the premium on the parallel market has been small and narrowing, and is not adversely affecting competitiveness. In order to ensure that the exchange rate continues to remain at an appropriate level, the central bank’s interventions in the market (carried out through the weekly auctions) should be aimed at meeting the gross reserve target under the program, but not target a specific exchange rate level.

57. Fifth, sustained effort is required to raise savings and investment to support growth. Financial sector reforms, in part guided by the recommendations of the envisaged FSAP, should support progress in this direction. However, based on experiences in other developing countries, a significant increase in the domestic savings rate is likely to take time. The promotion of private sector activities and an improved investment climate would be supportive of both domestic and foreign investment.

58. Sixth, the authorities will need to actively implement a structural reform agenda under the program to channel more resources to poverty reduction and strengthen the basis for output growth. A major aspect of the agenda pertains to strengthening fiscal and public expenditure management. The latter is particularly important for Sierra Leone not only for efficiency reasons, but also for the mobilization of much needed external support.

59. In view of the authorities’ recent efforts and commitments made in the LoI, and based on the prior actions taken, the staff recommends approval of the request for a new three-year arrangement under the PRGF. The risks to program implementation, notably the substantial reliance on external budgetary support that is not fully predictable, and the internal coordination demands for implementing domestic policy, will need to be carefully managed by the authorities. The proposed access and phasing strike an appropriate balance between the need to support Sierra Leone’s efforts to achieve sustained growth for alleviating poverty and the risks to the Fund.

Table 9.Sierra Leone: Disbursements Under the PRGF Arrangement, 2006–09(In millions of SDRs)
DateDisbursementsSubject to
March 24, 20064.71Approval of arrangement
August 20064.40First review and performance criteria (PCs) for end-March 2006
February 20074.40Second review and PCs for end-September 2006
August 20074.40Third review and PCs for end- March 2007
February 20084.40Fourth review and PCs for end-September 2007
August 20084.40Fifth review and PCs for end-March 2008
March 23, 20094.40Sixth review and PCs for end-September 2008
Total disbursements31.111
Source: IMF.

The total disbursement is equivalent to 30 percent of Sierra Leone’s quota.

Source: IMF.

The total disbursement is equivalent to 30 percent of Sierra Leone’s quota.

Table 10.Sierra Leone: Indicators of Capacity to Repay the Fund, 2001-2010 1/(In millions of U.S. dollars, unless otherwise indicated)
2001200220032004200520062007200820092010
Est.Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.Proj.
Fund credit outstanding (end of period) 1/
In millions of SDRs120.8124.5113.8126.0134.4140.5138.4130.6115.891.1
In millions of U.S. dollars153.8161.3159.1185.4198.6201.2198.5187.4166.2130.6
In percent of quota116.5120.1109.7121.6129.6135.4133.5125.9111.787.8
In millions of US dollars
Fund obligations78.132.235.524.09.35.416.524.428.336.2
Fund total charges and interests2.70.80.90.91.01.01.00.50.80.7
Existing drawings2.70.80.90.91.01.00.90.40.70.5
Prospective drawings0.00.00.00.00.00.00.10.10.20.2
Fund total repayments/repurchases75.431.434.623.18.44.415.523.927.535.5
Existing drawings75.431.434.623.18.44.415.523.927.535.5
Prospective drawings0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Fund credit outstanding in percent of:
Exports of goods and services119.1105.380.677.669.354.146.338.530.721.9
Total external debt 2/59.646.032.035.833.032.029.225.321.115.6
Gross official reserves296.6190.6267.9148.5133.3130.7114.196.677.757.0
Fund obligations in percent of:
Exports of goods and services60.521.018.010.03.31.43.85.05.26.1
External debt service 2/70.439.937.426.211.67.721.629.132.237.3
Gross international reserves150.638.159.819.26.33.59.512.613.215.8
Memorandum items:
Exports of goods and services (in millions of U.S. dollars)129.1153.2197.3238.9286.7372.0428.6486.5540.9596.1
Gross official reserves (in months of imports of goods and services)1.92.51.82.93.02.82.93.03.03.1
Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and Fund staff estimates and projections.

All numbers are before HIPC Initiative assistance.

Before rescheduling.

Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and Fund staff estimates and projections.

All numbers are before HIPC Initiative assistance.

Before rescheduling.

Table 11.Sierra Leone: Poverty-Related Expenditure by Activity, 2001-05(In millions of leones)
20012002200320042005
Quarter 1Quarter 2Quarter 3Quarter 4Full yearBudget
Act.Act.Act.Act.ActAct.Act.Act.SpeechProp.
Total poverty-targeted expenditure72,832.5120,555.1140,158.029,048.539,118.538,156.828,366.8134,690.6166,269.6167,470.9
Recurrent poverty-targeted expenditure69,840.5108,193.4120,834.427,799.836,202.135,932.225,966.0125,900.1147,219.6148,770.9
General services
Ministry of Local Government and Community Development180.8305.41,057.6426.41,970.2845.3845.3
Security services15,450.515,272.226,158.58,582.46,189.57,000.26,264.128,036.226,176.725,176.7
Police10,815.610,278.916,275.94,288.54,288.54,390.04,026.316,993.318,094.017,094.0
Prisons Department3,969.14,588.65,237.0876.51,695.71,823.42,150.16,545.76,699.66,699.6
National Fire Authority665.8404.74,645.53,417.4205.3786.887.74,497.21,383.11,383.1
Social services45,802.573,955.675,783.114,389.023,617.622,603.117,132.577,742.281,795.668,251.9
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology29,014.944,096.843,089.911,438.116,778.912,129.59,608.349,954.850,162.341,980.5
Ministry of Health and Sanitation15,573.927,366.429,962.01,420.55,599.19,410.25,040.421,470.225,603.122,188.6
Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs (Socal Welfare Division)811.5886.51,097.0284.3306.4156.6309.31,056.61,194.91,019.7
Gender and Children’s Affairs Division402.21,605.91,634.2482.5281.6343.6291.31,399.01,060.3904.9
Ministry of Youth and Sports632.5583.2563.2337.52,116.41,552.01,324.5
Socially-oriented projects131.168.40.01,545.71,745.22,223.0833.8
Economic services8,587.518,965.618,892.84,647.66,089.65,271.32,143.018,151.520,407.617,502.7
Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security1,988.54,230.58,835.72,807.54,845.22,323.31,326.811,302.814,539.912,470.2
Ministry of Transport and Communications3,880.03,252.02,182.6890.6228.0711.2133.71,963.51,196.31,026.0
Ministry of Energy and Power2,719.02,929.43,602.7949.51,016.411.9642.52,620.33,671.43,148.8
Domestic debt payback program8,553.74,271.90.00.02,224.940.02,264.91,000.0857.7
Transfers to local councils17,994.416,994.4
Unallocated recurrent poverty-related outlays20,000.0
Development poverty-targeted expenditure2,992.012,361.719,323.61,248.72,916.42,224.62,400.88,790.519,050.018,700.0
General services2,442.02,379.51,076.9160.5463.7757.597.31,479.0200.0100.0
Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government2,442.02,379.51,076.9135.5418.7732.572.31,359.00.00.0
Office of the President25.045.025.025.0120.0200.0100.0
Security services1,038.70.00.0100.00.0100.0200.050.0
Prison Department179.8914.70.00.0100.00.0100.0200.050.0
Fire Force Authority124.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Social services550.03,947.59,267.4438.8612.5538.4346.01,935.74,370.04,270.0
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport350.03,688.74,558.155.0362.5170.010.0597.51,200.01,100.0
Ministry of Health and Sanitation162.84,393.30.0150.0179.6172.0501.6480.0480.0
Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs200.096.0316.00.00.050.00.050.0100.0100.0
National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA)383.8100.0138.8164.0786.62,590.02,590.0
Economic services6,034.77,940.7649.41,840.2828.71,957.55,275.813,280.013,280.0
Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security2,788.02,190.10.00.043.712.556.2830.0830.0
Ministry of Marine Resources449.7970.549.475.250.00.0174.6250.0250.0
Ministry of Energy and Power272.90.00.0300.00.0300.02,000.02,000.0
Ministry of Works, Housing and Technical Maintenance2,797.04,507.1600.01,765.0435.01,945.04,745.010,200.010,200.0
Local government development grants1,000.01,000.0
Source: Sierra Leone, Ministry of Finance, Budget Bureau.
Source: Sierra Leone, Ministry of Finance, Budget Bureau.
Table 12.Sierra Leone: Selected Social and Demographic Indicators
Sierra LeoneSub-Saharan Africa
Total land area (thousands of square kilometers)71.623,628.4
Agricultural land (in percent of total)7453
Population and vital statistics (1999, unless otherwise indicated)
Total population (in millions)5644
Population growth rate (in percent)23
Urban population (in percent of total)3434
Population density (inhabitants per square kilometer)6527
Population age structure (in percent; 1996)
0-14 years4544
15-64 years5253
65 years and above33
Infant mortality rate (per thousand)182107
Life expectancy at birth (years)3849
Male3646
Female4148
GDP per capita in U.S. dollars (2000)134500
Poverty rate (in percent) 1/82
Health and nutrition (2000, unless otherwise indicated)
Access to safe water (in percent of population)
Total3446
Urban5864
Rural2129
Population per physician20,69514,347
Population per hospital bed1,310
Daily per capita calorie supply2,035
Percent of requirement85
Protein intake per capita (1990; grams per day)44
Labor force (in millions; 1999)
Total labor force (1999)3275
Percent of formal labor force (1997)
Female3242
Agriculture6170
Industry178
Services22
Education (1999)
Percent of age group enrolled in
Primary school4278
Secondary school1627
Tertiary education13
Adult literacy rate (in percent)3041
Sources: Statistics Sierra Leone; draft Sierra Leone 2000 “National Human Development and Related Indicators”; UNDP, Human Development Indicators, 2001; Government of Sierra Leone, “Household Survey Report on Women and Children 2000.”

This figure is for 1989-90. It measures the percentage of the total population living on the equivalent of under US$1 per day in 1989-90.

Sources: Statistics Sierra Leone; draft Sierra Leone 2000 “National Human Development and Related Indicators”; UNDP, Human Development Indicators, 2001; Government of Sierra Leone, “Household Survey Report on Women and Children 2000.”

This figure is for 1989-90. It measures the percentage of the total population living on the equivalent of under US$1 per day in 1989-90.

APPENDIX I ATTACHMENT I

March 8, 2006

Mr. Rodrigo de Rato

Managing Director

International Monetary Fund

Washington, DC 20431

Dear Mr. de Rato:

1. On behalf of the government of Sierra Leone, I am pleased to submit herewith the memorandum on economic and financial policies covering the period 2006–08, for which Sierra Leone requests a three-year arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). The objectives of this program and the measures envisaged to achieve them are described in the attached memorandum. The main pillars of the program, reflecting the government’s poverty reduction objectives, are as follows: (i) promotion of macroeconomic stability through prudent fiscal and monetary policies; (ii) strengthening fiscal management to channel resources toward poverty-related spending; and (iii) financial sector reforms to promote saving, investment, and growth.

2. The government of Sierra Leone has made substantial progress during 2001–05 in laying the foundation for sustained real growth and poverty reduction in the context of the previous PRGF-supported program. Macroeconomic performance has continued to be strong in 2005 and demonstrates government’s commitment to meet the indicative targets set for 2005 (Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP), Table 1). There were slippages in fiscal performance during the year, but the government took corrective actions in the last quarter to bring fiscal performance in line with the budget. In light of this, and following the receipt of substantial external budgetary support towards the year-end, monetary conditions improved, which also contributed to the lowering of inflation. We have implemented several prior actions comprising the unfinished agenda from the previous PRGF-supported program.

3. The government started the implementation of its poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) last year. Donors also confirmed, in the Consultative Group meeting in November 2005, their continued support for Sierra Leone’s poverty reduction strategy. In this context, the government wishes to thank the IMF and the World Bank for their support, which was instrumental in garnering assistance from the international community for Sierra Leone’s development efforts. The implementation of the PRS has been accelerated, with the view of enabling Sierra Leone to reach the HIPC completion point in 2006.

4. In support of the implementation of its medium-term program, the government requests a new three-year arrangement under the PRGF in an amount equivalent to SDR 31.11 million (or 30 percent of quota).

5. Furthermore, the government of Sierra Leone will continue to provide the Fund with such information as the Fund require in order to assess Sierra Leone’s progress in carrying out policies outlined in the attached MEFP. The government will also continue to consult with the Fund on its economic and financial policies in accordance with IMF policies and practices on such consultations. Reviews under the PRGF-supported program will be conducted throughout the arrangement to evaluate implementation of macroeconomic and structural policies. The first review is expected to take place by end-August 2006 and the second review before end-February 2007.

6. The government of Sierra Leone also authorizes the publication of this letter by the Fund, including the posting of the document on the IMF website, subsequent to Executive Board approval.

Sincerely yours,

/s/

John O. Benjamin

Minister of Finance

Freetown, Sierra Leone

Attachments: - Memorandum on Economic and Financial Policies

  • - Technical Memorandum of Understanding
APPENDIX I ATTACHMENT II SIERRA LEONE Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies of the Government of Sierra Leone for 2006-08

March 8, 2006

I. Introduction

1. Sierra Leone has made substantial progress with its post-conflict transition. The UNAMSIL peacekeeping mission was phased out at end-2005 and replaced by UNIOSIL (United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone), to assist in nation building and conflict prevention. Local government elections in May 2004 also represented an important advance in the government’s strategy to empower local authorities.

2. The economy sustained a robust real growth during 2001–04, but inflation also rose. Moreover, poverty remains widespread and efforts to reduce it have yet to make notable progress.26 Sierra Leone has had almost continuous involvement with Fund programs since 1994 under a variety of arrangements. This notwithstanding, the government believes that a continued close involvement of the Fund in Sierra Leone is warranted to assist in addressing the country’s sizeable development needs and the relatively large external financing gap that is projected over the medium term.

3. In this memorandum, the government of Sierra Leone describes the economic and financial policies to be implemented during 2006–08 within the context of a new Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement with the Fund.

II. Recent Economic Developments and Performance

4. Broad-based economic recovery continued in 2005. Output is estimated to have grown 7⅓ percent, reflecting robust activity in agriculture, diamond mining, manufacturing, construction and services. However, inflation rose during the year, reaching nearly 16 percent in September. In part, this was caused by higher fuel prices and monetary expansion during the first half of the year. Inflationary pressures subsided in the subsequent months and in November year-on-year inflation was down to 12.3 percent, as a result of improving monetary conditions and the inflow of external budgetary support. Average inflation for the year as a whole is projected at 12.5 percent.

5. Fiscal performance during 2005 was mixed. Revenues measured in terms of GDP were below the budget during January-September, reflecting shortfalls in collections, in particular in respect of customs and excise revenues.27 Some recovery in revenue performance was targeted in the last quarter of the year, as the National Revenue Authority intensified its tax efforts. Regarding external budgetary support, receipts exceeded the budget by about Le 5.5 billion in 2005; however, fiscal management was complicated by delays in the receipts during January-September, which then spilled over to domestic borrowing. Total outlays are projected to remain below budget for the year as a whole, due to weaknesses in implementing development projects. Recurrent outlays are expected to reach the budgeted targets. Within this category, the wage bill and the cost of debt service, however, are projected to exceed budgeted amounts. The former reflects payment to the National Social Security Insurance Trust (NASSIT) in the first quarter (Le 2.2 billion), which was not budgeted, and an increase in pensions and gratuity payments to the military and police as a result of the restructuring exercise and to a lesser extent the higher than anticipated cost of hiring new police personnel. Higher debt-service is a reflection of higher-than-projected domestic borrowing in the first half of the year. Poverty outlays fell significantly short of target (the projected shortfall in 2005 is about Le 34 billion or 1 percent of GDP). This is explained in most part by weak planning in respect of allocating available fiscal resources to the priority areas (education and health). The overall fiscal deficit (including grants) is projected at 1.3 percent of GDP for the full year, compared to 3.5 percent of GDP in 2004. The primary deficit is expected to be contained at slightly above 2 percent of GDP in 2005, down from 2.8 percent in 2004. The domestic financing of the budget will be contained at about 0.7 percent of GDP, which is less than budgeted. Additional budgetary support from the AfDB (US$5.33 million), which was projected for the last quarter of 2005, was only disbursed in January 2006. However, funding for poverty programs to close the financing gap in the budget was provided by the DfID which disbursed an additional 5 million pounds (equivalent of US$9 million) in December.

6. The government is committed to correcting the slippages in fiscal performance to bring the budget closer to year-end targets. On the revenue side, additional efforts by the National Revenue Authority to strengthen the enforcement of tax regulations are expected to increase revenue collections in the last quarter of the year. These include the enforcement of the 10 percent sales tax on local telephone and mobile phone calls; a 3 percent advance income tax on importers; as well as the collection of tax arrears (mainly withholding tax) from parastatals. Regarding expenditures, the government will closely monitor outlays to prevent slippages in the fourth quarter, while at the same time increasing efforts to allocate outlays to poverty-related areas.

7. Monetary policy was not fully effective in containing inflation pressures in 2005. Both reserve and broad money growth exceeded their targets, reflecting in part a better-than- anticipated improvement in the banking system net foreign assets, as well as higher than projected borrowing by the government. The rapid growth of credit to the private sector also continued, although the Bank of Sierra Leone tightened monetary conditions in late 2004 by increasing commercial bank cash statutory reserve requirements from 10 to 12 percent.

8. The external current account deficit (excluding official transfers) is projected to have widened in 2005. There was a significant improvement in export performance, in particular for diamonds, which account for over 90 percent of total receipts, but other exports (agricultural and manufactured products) also rose. Import growth, on the other hand, was substantially stronger than projected. This reflected, in part, the higher cost of imported fuels and capital goods imports associated with the refurbishment of bauxite and rutile mining projects. Official reserves are projected to reach US$149 million by year-end (about 3 months of import cover).

III. Medium-Term Strategy and Objectives

9. As highlighted in the PRSP, a medium-term economic strategy for Sierra Leone underscores the acute need to reduce poverty and to provide a basis for high economic growth. Furthermore, nation building, which includes the need to strengthen law and order, improve infrastructure, and enhance macroeconomic stability, will be key for successfully implementing the strategy.

10. The major macroeconomic objectives underlying the medium-term strategy include the maintenance of sustained high real growth and a stable macroeconomic environment. In this regard, agricultural expansion and food security are key medium-term objectives reflecting, in part, agriculture’s importance for job creation. The country’s considerable mineral endowments will continue to support the balance of payments and will be utilized to enhance fiscal sustainability and to facilitate job creation.

11. Sustained high growth in Sierra Leone will require significantly higher domestic savings and investment rates. Therefore, the government’s medium-term objective is to reverse the negative domestic savings rate to about 1 percent of GDP by 2008. The aim for the subsequent years will be to reach Sierra Leone’s historical savings ratio of 8-10 percent. Financial sector reforms will be instrumental in this regard.

12. Furthermore, private sector development and an improved investment climate will be vital for the achievement of high-sustained output growth. With this in mind, the government will pursue reforms to raise private investment, including in the mineral sector, in the coming years. The government also plans to allocate resources to power generation and infrastructure over the medium term to ease bottlenecks that negatively affect private business activities.

13. Medium-term macroeconomic stability hinges critically on fiscal policy. The centerpiece of the policy framework under the PRGF-supported program will be fiscal consolidation while shifting resources increasingly toward spending on priority areas. In particular, a better balanced between available resources and budgeted outlays and a move towards a broadly balance primary position is necessary to contain domestic borrowing. The domestic debt stock, which is currently about 30 percent of GDP, is expensive to service and crowds out private sector credit.

14. The government expects the annual rate of output growth to 2008 to remain in the range of 6-7 percent underpinned by broad-based sectoral growth. Inflation is expected to revert to middle single digits by the end of the period, supported by prudent macroeconomic policies. The external current account balance (excluding official grants) is projected to narrow to 11 percent of GDP by 2008. The central bank will aim at maintaining Sierra Leone’s gross official reserves about three months of imports over the program period.

15. The government is committed to addressing governance issues and enhancing transparency. Reflecting this, the main focus of structural reforms in the PRGF-supported program will be on continued strengthening of the public sector and civil service; enhanced capacity for data collection, analysis, and reporting to support policymaking; and on strengthening public finance management to assist the budgetary process and expenditure management. The government recognizes that further efforts are required to fight corruption. With other stakeholders, and assistance from the DfID, the government will therefore continue to strengthen the Anti-Corruption Commission and ensure that it is adequately equipped to meet its challenges. Furthermore, the government understands that openness and access to information on public sector activities would enhance transparency and accountability. In light of this, the government is committed to expanding the availability of information on its activities in parliament and the public at large. Regarding the mineral sector, the government has already endorsed the international initiative to enhance transparency in the utilization of Sierra Leone’s mineral endowment (the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; EITI), and plans to adopt it in 2006.

Medium-term fiscal strategy

16. The medium-term fiscal strategy aims at raising domestic revenues to support priority spending. In this context, the government will focus on five specific areas. First, the continued strengthening of the National Revenue Authority, for which the government has requested technical assistance from the Fund.28 Second, the tapping of increased revenues from the mineral sector. Estimated incremental revenues of about 0.3 percent of GDP per annum could be collected during 2006–08, mainly from royalties. Third, the introduction of a value-added tax (VAT), scheduled for 2007, in order to widen the tax base. However, a portion of the additional revenues will have to offset the fall in customs revenue, in part resulting from the phased introduction of the ECOWAS common external tariff (CET). The latter is estimated to reduce customs revenues by about 0.4 percent of GDP per annum. Fourth, the significant narrowing of the scope of import duty and sales tax exemptions, which the government is progressively effecting. Finally, the strengthening of tax compliance, in part by actively pursuing overdue tax liabilities from private and public corporations (in particular, PAYE liabilities), and settling related arrears (as part of cross-liability deals between government and state-owned enterprises). An action plan for settling the wage and utility arrears is a benchmark for end-March 2006.

17. The government envisions further strengthening of public expenditure management, particularly in containing the public sector wage bill and meeting targets for poverty outlays. Some progress had been achieved in verifying the number of teachers and civil servants in the government payroll and issuing them identification cards. In addition, the database of teachers and civil servants and the payroll database of the Accounting General’s Office are being updated monthly. More broadly, structural reforms to further strengthen public expenditure management in the medium term will focus on: strengthening the control of the wage bill, including further measures to strengthen personnel and payroll systems; the avoidance of domestic payment arrears and the establishment of a time table for the clearance of all outstanding arrears; improving the quality and timeliness of financial audits of the government; and strengthening fiscal and monetary reporting to ensure timely reconciliation of data.

18. The overall deficit is projected to fall over the medium term. While the share of domestic revenues is expected to rise from 12.2 percent of GDP in 2005 to 13.6 percent in 2008, the rise could be offset partially by the projected decline (in GDP terms) in budgetary support from donors. Total expenditures would remain broadly unchanged at about 22 percent of GDP over the program period, while the composition of spending is expected to change in light of the PRSP priorities. Therefore, the government envisions that additional resources to support poverty-related programs will come from savings elsewhere, which underscores the importance of keeping the wage bill under control. The overall deficit (excluding grants) is expected to fall to about ½ percent of GPD by 2008. Domestic financing of the budget is projected to remain small, averaging about 0.2 percent of GDP annually during 2006–08, and this would help reduce the domestic debt-to-GDP ratio.

19. The government recognizes the privatization of state-owned enterprises as an important medium-term objective, which could enhance the efficiency of government operations and collection of additional revenues. Twenty-four state-owned enterprises, covering several economic sectors, including financial institutions, are targeted for privatization. However, progress has been slow. To expedite the process, government has sought technical assistance from DfID to support the National Commission for Privatization (NCP). DfID will provide resident consultants in the NCP to accelerate the implementation of the program. This project will commence in early 2006 and run to mid-2008. The World Bank will also be assisting the government in respect of implementation.

20. Substantial scaled up aid is indicated both in the context of financing PRSP activities and in terms of the efforts required for approaching the MDGs. The government will, therefore continue to work with its development partners to increase aid inflows. In this regard, the government recognizes that appropriate policies should be pursued to protect the economy against any adverse effects of large aid inflows and to ensure aid effectiveness for accelerated growth and poverty reduction. The government is committed to ensuring that domestic tax efforts will be continued, even with increased external assistance, in order to reinforce poverty-reduction efforts and prepare for a gradual exit from aid dependency. In respect of monetary management, the central bank will need to consider appropriately sterilizing higher aid inflows in part by selling foreign exchange. Exchange rate stability would need to be safeguarded in this overall context, in part through maintaining a liberal trade and exchange regime. The government would also continue its efforts to strengthen national and local institutions for increased aid absorption, and channel more resources to infrastructure and other productivity-enhancing activities to support faster growth. Efforts to contain wage pressures must also be sustained. Enhanced transparency and accountability in the educational and other social sectors will be pursued, together with continued reforms in key ministries. Public accounting and auditing functions would also be strengthened. Fiscal policy would be executed in a medium-term context while public sector debt sustainability will be regularly reviewed.

Medium-term financial sector strategy

21. Key goals for the government’s medium-term financial sector strategy are to enhance the mobilization of domestic savings and increase access to medium-to-longer term credit. Structural reforms in this area will be aimed at enhancing confidence, efficiency, and the sector’s capacity to offer financial services. Particularly in rural areas, in the short term, specific measures would also be introduced to address potential solvency and profitability problems in the banking system. Further reforms would include the mobilization of longer-term funds through suitable institutions, such as insurance companies and pension funds, and by developing an efficient domestic capital market. These could in part be guided by the recommendations of the envisaged FSAP, which the government has requested from the Fund and the World Bank.

22. A strong central bank is essential for the conduct of effective monetary policy. In this context, the government is committed to ensuring that the Bank of Sierra Leone would be adequately capitalized so that the Bank would have appropriate resources for conducting its day-to-day monetary and other operations. Technical assistance from the Fund is also ongoing, aimed at improving the central bank’s open market operations and liquidity forecasting capability.

Exchange rate policy and the balance of payments

23. The government believes that exchange rate flexibility will continue to serve the country’s interest, as it will facilitate timely adjustments to external developments. The official exchange rate is expected to continue being determined through weekly auctions. Furthermore, the Bank of Sierra Leone will aim at strengthening its external reserve position over the medium term (gross reserves are projected to reach US$194 million by the end of the program period). The exchange system will remain free from restrictions on the making of payments and transfers for current international transactions.

24. Sierra Leone’s external outlook is expected to improve over the medium term, but a substantial financing gap remains. Key contributing factors will be a strong export growth and further debt relief once Sierra Leone reaches the HIPC completion point. In addition to the continued growth of officially recorded diamond exports, the recommencement of rutile and bauxite mining will further boost exports. Import growth, on the other hand, is projected to moderate as a result of the completion of the large mineral sector rehabilitation projects. Consequently, the external current account deficit is expected to narrow to about 6½ percent of GDP (including official transfers) in 2008 from 87½ percent in 2005. The government’s medium-term strategy to broaden the export base beyond the mineral sector will hinge on the success in addressing the key structural impediments (power, infrastructure, and access to credit).

Medium-term structural reforms

25. The medium-term structural reform agenda included in the PRGF has been derived from the government’s vision in the PRSP. The focus of the reforms is on strengthening fiscal management to channel more resources to poverty-reduction, and on the financial sector to promote saving, investment, and growth. The government has completed upfront the unfinished structural reform agenda from the expired PRGF arrangement by implementing several prior actions. These are envisaged to ensure continued improvements in the efficiency and transparency of government operations, through the strengthening of the Auditor General’s office, reforms in key ministries, and streamlining human resource management. The government will also make progress in systematically incorporating mineral sector revenues in the overall fiscal framework, and in consistently reporting monetary and fiscal data.

IV. Policies and Measures for 2006

26. The macroeconomic framework for 2006 envisions steady real GDP growth and lower inflation. Real output is expected to grow at 7½ percent, reflecting further expansion in the agricultural, manufacturing and service sectors, as well as the restart of rutile and bauxite production and exports. Average inflation is projected to fall slightly, to 11.7 percent, with supportive monetary and fiscal policies while end-year inflation is projected at a single digit level. The external current account deficit (excluding official grants) is projected to narrow to 12½ percent of GDP in 2006 from 14½ percent in 2005, owing to rising mineral exports and moderating import growth.

Fiscal policy

27. The key objective of the 2006 budget would be further fiscal consolidation while targeting higher poverty-related outlays. The budget will be formulated in the context of a medium-term fiscal framework. Related to this, however, donors confirmed the continued support to Sierra Leone in the Consultative Group (CG) meeting in November, which aimed at raising additional external resources for the implementation of the PRSP (the identified resource gap is about 55 percent of the total program costs), but indicated relatively little new financing in the coming years. Therefore, the 2006 budget is based on existing revenue trends and external support already indicated by key donors.29

28. Domestic revenues are projected to rise by 0.4 percent of GDP, equivalent of Le 538.8 billion, based on a combination of enhanced tax collection efforts and new taxes. The National Revenue Authority (NRA) will fully enforce existing tax regulations (including a 3 percent turnover tax on diamonds; a 10 percent tax on phone calls; a 3 percent standard assessment on corporations and the enforcement of tax clearance certification on government contracts). The NRA will also pursue actively the collections of past due taxes and fully implement the license and fee increases included in the 2005 budget to cover all ministries. In addition, customs collections will be enhanced through better enforcement (strengthened border controls and transferring the processing of duty waivers to NRA to minimize the granting of discretionary exemptions).

29. In respect of new taxes, the government will begin charging a specific fee on duty-free imports to recover administrative costs.30 Furthermore, the government will reimpose duty and sales taxes on large-scale fishing and convert the current specific fuel tax into ad valorem tariff. In addition, nontax revenue (about Le 8 billion) in the form of royalty and PAYE payments is expected from bauxite production and exports in 2006.

30. However, part of the increase in domestic revenue collection will have to offset the fall in external budgetary support. The government envisions that the external budgetary support in 2006 (all in the form of grant financing) from the key donors to total US$59 million (about 4.3 percent of GDP), which will be lower than in 2005. Furthermore, HIPC budgetary support is expected to fall significantly (about 0.5 percent of GDP) because of the delays in reaching the HIPC Completion Point. The government projects that development grants would total Le 138 billion (US$43 million) in 2006.

31. The government envisions that total expenditures will rise slightly in 2006 compared to 2005, reaching Le 940 billion. However, there will be a shift from recurrent to development spending, as the increase in fiscal resources will be channeled mainly to the development budget, which is expected to rise substantially (both domestic and foreign-financed). This, in part, reflects the government’s objectives to increase domestic investment as well as the need to strengthen infrastructure to support private sector activities. The government is expecting to begin implementing several large infrastructure projects in 2006 (involving roads and power generation), with substantial assistance from donors. The recurrent expenditures, on the other hand, are expected to contract in terms of GDP, reflecting the limited resource envelope. There will, however, be a reallocation of resources towards poverty areas, consistent with the PRSP.31 Furthermore, the government has included Le 8 billion (0.3 percent of GDP) in the budget to cover costs associated with the 2007 presidential election (domestic portion).

32. In order to protect poverty outlays, the government will adopt initially in the context of the 2006 budget, a framework that would help to allocate scarce resources first to priority areas, in particular to those programs that directly address poverty reduction. Unanticipated shortfalls in external budgetary support, together with slower than anticipated utilization of funds earmarked for poverty outlays, have in the past caused deviations from programmed spending targets. This needs to be avoided. To address these issues, the government will identify predictable resources and also track the utilization of these resources for poverty-related programs.32 Regarding the uncertainty related to external aid inflows, the government would be able to borrow one-half of the budgetary support through the adjustment to the ceiling on net bank credit to the government. Therefore, this portion of external budgetary support could be considered secure before the assistance has been actually received. On the expenditure side, the government will identifying the priority outlays in the budgeting process that should be protected while indicating clearly that other spending may only be effected when less certain resources have been obtained. The government realized, however, that flexibility is limited because several budgeted outlays cannot be easily postponed or reduced, including interest and amortization on domestic and foreign debt, the wage bill, statutory transfers to NRA and the road user fund, as well as various security-related outlays. These outlays represent a substantial portion of total expenditures (estimated at about ¾ in 2006). The government will also improve the system to adequately track the utilization of funds related to poverty programs and take remedial action in respect of underutilization.

33. The overall fiscal deficit (including grants) in 2006 is projected to narrow to 0.5 percent of GDP, from 1.3 percent expected in 2005. The primary deficit is expected to be marginally lower than in 2005. Domestic financing is projected to be contained at 0.3 percent of GDP.

Monetary and financial sector policies

34. Effective monetary policy will be critical in ensuring macroeconomic stability in 2006, assisted by appropriate fiscal policy. However, the Bank of Sierra Leone’s ability to contain the growth of reserve money has been hampered owing to the limited menu of instruments at its disposal. Therefore, the government will work together with the Bank of Sierra Leone to strengthen the central bank’s operational capacity. Specific steps include the elimination of the spread between interest paid on treasury bills and on the Ways and Means Account, and making the latter market-determined by linking it to the three-month Treasury bill rate. By allowing the central bank to convert balances on the Ways and Means Account to treasury bills at its own discretion, the control over high-powered money would be strengthened, particularly when liquidity emanates from the fiscal sector. Furthermore, a key source of money growth in 2006 is anticipated to arise from the external sector, as the banking system net foreign asset position is projected to improve substantially. Reflecting this, the Bank of Sierra Leone needs to study alternatives for enhancing liquidity control, including imposing a reserve requirement on commercial bank foreign-currency deposits.

35. Based on the outcome of the assessment of commercial bank capitalization in 2005, and in order to safeguard the operations of these banks, the Bank of Sierra Leone raised the minimum capital from Le 800 million (S$0.25 million) to Le 6 billion ($1.9 million), to be attained by end-2006. The minimum capital has been raised further in phases to Le 15 billion (US$4.6 million) by end-2009.

36. Beginning in 2006, the government envisions a number of measures to enhance financial intermediation and expand the availability of medium-to long-term credit. These include the establishment of community banks, which will be important for extending banking services to rural areas. Furthermore, the government is expanding micro financing to rural areas with the support of development partners.33 A Microfinance Investment and Technical Assistance Facility (MITAF) has been established and is projected to assist the government in developing a competitive financial sector that would expand access to financial services to poor and low-income people. The facility will provide direct technical assistance, training and financial support to microfinance institutions, facilitate the role of investors and donors in the promotion of microfinance, and assist the Bank of Sierra Leone in its financial sector deepening efforts. Other stakeholders in this partnership include the Bank of Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning and the Ministry of Finance. The government is also developing a domestic capital market, with the Bank of Sierra Leone taking the lead, assisted by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the First Initiative (U.K.). Efforts are also underway to develop a regulatory framework for these activities.

External sector policies

37. The government is seeking to reach a rescheduling agreement with the Paris Club creditors on Cologne terms under the new PRGF program, retroactively extending consolidation period from July 2005. Progress on negotiations with commercial creditors has to date been limited despite efforts to contact some of the creditors and to make goodwill payments to some of them. To address the situation, government has requested the World Bank to support a second IDA debt buy-back operation. Preparations for the debt buyback are in progress, targeting the timing of the HIPC completion point for finalization (expected in the second half of 2006). The government is continuing negotiations with non-Paris Club creditors to reach debt-relief agreements consistent with the HIPC Initiative and on comparable terms to those that would be granted by the Paris Club.

38. Sierra Leone’s trade policy is influenced by the ECOWAS integration process. The country’s trade and exchange regimes are already substantially liberalized. The government plans to implement medium-term tariff reductions in a regional context, through the adoption of the ECOWAS common external tariff (CET). Full implementation of the CET is projected to reduce the average tariff rate from 14 percent currently to 12 percent by 2008. Other aspects which would impact on Sierra Leone include a broad trade law reform process, the ongoing EU-ECOWAS Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations, and a diagnostic trade integration study (DTIS) that is being prepared under the Integrated Framework (IF).34 The DTIS aims at promoting the country’s export development by analyzing the key constrains to expansion, providing a comprehensive picture of how current and planned initiatives can be combined in a prioritized and sequenced ways, and developing a prioritized trade integration action plan consistent with the PRSP. The government is also working to implement the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), with assistance from donors.

Structural reforms

39. The structural reform agenda for 2006 will focus on three areas (Table 2). First, the government will launch a new fiscal and monetary reporting system as a main structural performance criterion to the new PRFG arrangement by end-March. The purpose of this new framework is to ensure a full reconciliation of fiscal and monetary data. Second, fiscal management will be strengthened through a number of measures. In order to enhance the management of the wage bill, the government intends to update and audit the database containing all job grades and salary levels for civil servants and teachers and develop internal guidelines for annual salary adjustments within grade ranges. This will be a structural performance criterion for end-June 2006. The government also plans to continue its efforts to convert the Establishment Secretary’s Office into a Human Resource Management office, by identifying specific measures needed to complete the task. Furthermore, the Cabinet will adopt an action plan related to the implementation of the Budgeting and Accountability Act. For the purpose of clearing outstanding utility and wage arrears, the government will take stock of these arrears and develop an action plan for Cabinet approval. The government also envisions a review of existing tax exemptions to guide it on how to minimize their impact on domestic revenue collection. It will also establish internal audit units in key ministries, reporting to the chief internal auditor of the Ministry of Finance. Third, the Bank of Sierra Leone will finalize an assessment of bank capitalization and credit quality for all commercial banks; this will be a structural performance criterion for end-September.35

Table 1.Sierra Leone: Indicative Targets (January-December 2005)

(Cumulative change from beginning of calendar year to end of month indicated; in millions of leones, unless otherwise indicated) 1/

January -December 2005 16/17/
MarchJuneSeptemberDecember
Indicative

Targets
Adjusted

Targets
Act.Met or

Not met
Indicative

Targets
Adjusted

targets
Act.Met or

Not met
Indicative

Targets
Adjusted

targets
Act.Met or

Not met
Indicative

Targets
Performance criteria
Net domestic bank credit to the central government (ceiling) 2/3/15,37528,78332,505Not met21,18044,21864,873Not met36,40328,95645,804Not met12,356
Unadlusted target (ceiling)15,37521,18036,403
Adjustment for the shortfall (excess) external budget support-8,716-23,466-16,084
Adjustment for the issuance of treasury securities to the private sector-4,69242823,531
Net domestic assets of the central bank (ceiling) 2/4/5/31,47433,97819,039Met65,25583,25649,134Met103,432116,8736,645Met70,503
Unadjusted target (ceiling)31,47465,255103,432
Adjustment for the shortfall (excess) external budget support-8,716-23,466-16,084
Adjustment for exchange rate depreciation (appreciation)-6,212-5,465-2,643
Domestic primary budget balance of the central government (floor)6/-13,259-13,259-17,264Not met-24,960-24,960-26,034Not met-56,571-56,571-57,656Not met-77,878
Subsidies to National Power Authority (ceiling)0.000.000.00Met0.00.00.0Met0.00.00.0Met0.0
Gross foreign exchange reserves of the central bank (in millions of U.S. dollars (floor)) 7/-10.66-16.75-1.51Met4.25-20.52-11.06Met-15.64-26.693.96Met-1.88
Unadjusted target (floor)-10.66-4.25-15.64
Adjustment for the shortfall (excess) external budget support6.0916.2811.05
Adjustment for the shortfall in the U.S. dollar value of IMF disbursement0.00.00.0
Contracting or guaranteeing of nonconcessional external debt 8/
by the public sector (ceiling) with maturities of one year or more 9/10/0.00.00.0Met0.00.00.0Met0.00.0Met0.0
Outstanding stock of external debt owed or guaranteed by the public sector 11/
with maturities of less than one year (ceiling) 12/0.00.00.0Met0.00.00.0Met0.00.00.0Met0.0
External payment arrears of the public sector (ceiling) 13/0.00.00.0Met0.00.00.0Met0.00.00.0Met0.0
Indicative targets
Total domestic government revenue (floor)93,91993,91990,345Not Met209,750209,750200,640Not Met321,459321,459305,054Not Met434,982
Government wage bill (ceiling)48,53248,53249,599Not Met104,606104,606105,529Not Met161,794161,794163,552Not Met222,982
Poverty-related expenditures (floor)32,03132,03125,748Not Met71,54971,54950,768Not Met123,041123,04189,535Not Met167,471
Memorandum items:
External budgetary assistance 14/28,34810,91657,84810,916115,52183,354174,949
Net credit to the central government by nonbank private sector 15/23,06318,37131,77132,19932,10555,63518,534
Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff calculations.

Variables are based on definitions in the technical memorandum of understanding (TMU) of October 2004.

The ceilings will be adjusted downward by the amount of any excess in programmed external budgetary assistance (see footnote 16). The ceiling will also be adjusted upward by up to 50 percent of the amount of any shortfall in external budgetary assistance (as defined in the TMU; see footnote 16).

Defined as claims on government (net) in the monetary survey. To be adjusted downward (upward) by any net issues of government securities, vis-à-vis the program target, to the nonbank private sector up to the ceiling on net domestic bank credit to the central government.

The program benchmarks for 2005 are valued at the program exchange rate of Le 2,950 per US$ 1.

Defined as the difference between the net foreign assets of the central bank (valued at the program exchange rate) and reserve money.

Defined as domestic revenue minus total expenditure and net lending, excluding interest payments, externally financed capital expenditures, and the externally financed DDR program.

In the event of an excess (shortfall) in external budgetary assistance (as defined above), the floor will be adjusted upward (downward) by the amount of the excess (shortfall).

This performance criterion applies to debt as defined in Annex 1 of the TMU of October 2004.

Excluded from this performance criterion are disbursements from the Fund and rescheduling arrangements.

Excluded from this performance criterion are external loans with a grant element equivalent to 35 percent or more, calculated using a discount rate based on OECD commercial interest reference rates (CIRRs).

The term “debt” has the meaning set forth in Annex 1 of the TMU of October 2004.

Excluded from this performance criterion are normal import-related credits.

To be applied on a continuous basis. Excluded from this performance criterion are those debts subject to rescheduling arrangements.

Including program grants and program loans.

Comprises treasury bills purchased by the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) and the non-financial private sector.

Quantitative performance criteria and indicative targets as specified in Table 3, Appendix I, IMF Country Report No. 05/194).

Cumulative changes have been calculated on the basis of actual end-December 2004 data.

Sources: Sierra Leonean authorities; and IMF staff calculations.

Variables are based on definitions in the technical memorandum of understanding (TMU) of October 2004.

The ceilings will be adjusted downward by the amount of any excess in programmed external budgetary assistance (see footnote 16). The ceiling will also be adjusted upward by up to 50 percent of the amount of any shortfall in external budgetary assistance (as defined in the TMU; see footnote 16).

Defined as claims on government (net) in the monetary survey. To be adjusted downward (upward) by any net issues of government securities, vis-à-vis the program target, to the nonbank private sector up to the ceiling on net domestic bank credit to the central government.

The program benchmarks for 2005 are valued at the program exchange rate of Le 2,950 per US$ 1.

Defined as the difference between the net foreign assets of the central bank (valued at the program exchange rate) and reserve money.

Defined as domestic revenue minus total expenditure and net lending, excluding interest payments, externally financed capital expenditures, and the externally financed DDR program.

In the event of an excess (shortfall) in external budgetary assistance (as defined above), the floor will be adjusted upward (downward) by the amount of the excess (shortfall).

This performance criterion applies to debt as defined in Annex 1 of the TMU of October 2004.

Excluded from this performance criterion are disbursements from the Fund and rescheduling arrangements.

Excluded from this performance criterion are external loans with a grant element equivalent to 35 percent or more, calculated using a discount rate based on OECD commercial interest reference rates (CIRRs).

The term “debt” has the meaning set forth in Annex 1 of the TMU of October 2004.

Excluded from this performance criterion are normal import-related credits.

To be applied on a continuous basis. Excluded from this performance criterion are those debts subject to rescheduling arrangements.

Including program grants and program loans.

Comprises treasury bills purchased by the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) and the non-financial private sector.

Quantitative performance criteria and indicative targets as specified in Table 3, Appendix I, IMF Country Report No. 05/194).

Cumulative changes have been calculated on the basis of actual end-December 2004 data.

Table 2.Sierra Leone: Proposed Structural Conditionality for 2006
MeasureTiming
Prior actions for approval of the PRGF arrangement



Deputy Auditor General has been appointed.



The implementation of action plans to reform five key ministries has commenced, and Cabinet has approved the sixth action plan for the ministry of local government.



A plan for transforming the Establishment Secretary’s Office into Human Resources Management office has been approved by Cabinet.



A medium-term revenue projection has been finalized for diamonds, rutile, and bauxite, and incorporated in the overall fiscal framework.



All government units and accounts that should be included in the new reporting system for monetary and fiscal data have been identified, and benchmark annual data for 2004 established.
Structural performance criteria



Implementation of a new reporting system, developed with Fund technical assistance in 2005, for the reconciliation of fiscal data with monetary data has started.



The database containing all job grades and salary levels for all civil servants and teachers has been updated and audited, and guidelines for annual salary adjustments within grade ranges approved by the cabinet.



An assessment of bank capitalization and credit quality for all commercial banks has been finalized by the Bank of Sierra Leone.




March 31





June 30



September 30
Structural benchmarks



Specific measures to be taken during the period through end-2006 to convert the Establishment Secretary’s Office into a Human Resource Management Office have been identified.



An action plan for the implementation of the Government’s Budgeting and Accountability Act has been approved by Cabinet.



The stock as of February 28, 2006, of outstanding utility and wage arrears has been identified and an action plan to clear these arrears has been approved.



Key ministries and agencies have established internal audit units under the control of the chief internal auditor of the Ministry of Finance.



A review of existing tax exemptions has been conducted and a plan approved for minimizing the exemptions.




March 31





March 31





March 31





April 30



June 30

V. Prior Actions and Program Monitoring

40. The government has completed five prior actions pertaining to this request for the PRGF arrangement. These comprise: (i) the appointment of a Deputy Auditor General; (ii) the approval by Cabinet of an action plan to reform the ministry of local government, apart from the ongoing implementation of previously approved action plans for five other key ministries; (iii) the approval by Cabinet of a plan to transform the Establishment Secretary’s Office into Human Resource Management office; (iv) the finalization of a medium-term fiscal revenue projection for diamonds, rutile, and bauxite and its incorporation in the overall fiscal framework; and (v) the identification of all government units and accounts that should be included in the new reporting system for monetary and fiscal data, and the establishment of benchmark annual data for 2004. These measures were completed as of January 31, 2006.

41. To monitor progress in program implementation, the government has reached understandings with the IMF staff on the quantitative and structural performance criteria and benchmarks for 2006 (Tables 2 and 4), and on the medium-term structural reform agenda for 2006-08 to underpin the PRGF program. On a monthly basis, the government will provide the IMF with the statistical data and information as described in the technical memorandum of understanding (attached), as well as any other information deemed necessary or requested by Fund staff in order to monitor the program.

Table 3.Sierra Leone: Main Areas for Structural Reforms, 2006–08
Timing
The public sector
Continue reforms of the public sector and civil service for effective2006–08
service delivery
Strengthen the capacity for data collection, analysis, and reporting to2006–08
support policy-making
Strengthen public financial management and fiscal decentralization2006–08
Fiscal Policy and Debt Management
Introduce a value-added tax system2007
Eliminate discretionary tax exemptions2007
Collect tax arrears2006–07
Strengthen tax administration and revenue collection2006–08
Strengthen the capacities of the public debt units in the MOF and2006–08
BSL
Public Expenditure Management
Improve medium-term fiscal planning2006–07
Strengthen management of the wage bill2006–07
Strengthen the auditing function of government financial accounts2006–07
Strengthen fiscal and monetary reporting to ensure timely2006–07
reconciliation of data
The Financial Sector
Develop and implement a strategy to address undercapitalization and2006–07
credit quality issues in commercial banks
Strengthen the bank supervision function in the BSL2006–07
Establish a regulatory framework for microfinance services2006–07
Develop a strategy to adequately capitalize the BSL2007
Strengthen the payments and clearing systems2007-08
Table 4.Sierra Leone: Proposed Quantitative Performance Criteria and Indicative Targets Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility Arrangement (January-December 2006)

(Cumulative change from beginning of calendar year to end of month indicated; in millions of leones, unless otherwise indicated.) 1/

2005
Sept.

Act.
Dec.

Proj.
March

performance

Criteria
June

Indicative

Targets
September

Performance

Criteria
December

Indicative

Targets
Performance criteria:End-period stocks
Net domestic bank credit to the central government (ceiling)786,275752,77520,21619,765-3,8827,410
Net domestic assets of the central bank (ceiling)455,145404,93630,21624,765-88237,910
Domestic primary budget balance of the central government (floor)-29,180-40,991-65,842-80,465
Subsidies to National Power Authority (ceiling) 2/0.00.00.00.0
Gross foreign exchange reserves of the central bank, in million U.S. dollars (floor)135.03148.94-0.402.6920.404.99
Contracting or guaranteeing of new nonconcessional external debt
by the public sector (ceiling) with maturities of one year or more 2/0.00.00.00.00.00.0
Outstanding stock of external debt owed or guaranteed by the public sector
with maturities of less than one year (ceiling) 2/0.00.00.00.00.00.0
External payment arrears of the public sector (ceiling) 2/0.00.00.00.00.00.0
Indicative targets:
Total domestic government revenue (floor)111,409248,399383,296538,808
Government wage bill (ceiling)66,500132,250199,250265,089
Poverty-related expenditures (floor)43,32089,254155,369207,873
Memorandum item:
External budgetary assistance 3/22,42457,019150,211173,507
Net credit to government by nonbank private sector 4/20,78221,9822,49017,595
Disbursements under the PRGF, in millions U. S. dollars6.736.7313.0213.02
Sources: Statistics Sierra Leone; and IMF staff estimates.

Variables are based on definitions in the TMU of February 2006.

These apply on a continuous basis.

Including program grants and program loans.

Comprises treasury bills purchased by the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) and the non-financial private sector.

Sources: Statistics Sierra Leone; and IMF staff estimates.

Variables are based on definitions in the TMU of February 2006.

These apply on a continuous basis.

Including program grants and program loans.

Comprises treasury bills purchased by the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) and the non-financial private sector.

42. To evaluate progress in implementing the PRGF during the first year of the program, the government, together with the IMF staff, will undertake two reviews of the program with the Fund. The first program review will be based on the quantitative performance criteria and benchmarks set for end-March 2006, and structural performance criteria set for end-March and end-June 2006, and is scheduled for completion by end-August 2006. The second program review will be based on the quantitative performance criteria and a structural performance criterion set for end-September 2006. The second review is expected to be completed by end-February 2007. Indicative quantitative performance targets have also been set for end-June and end-December 2006.

APPENDIX I ATTACHMENT III Sierra Leone: Technical Memorandum of Understanding

March 2006

Introduction

1. This memorandum sets out the understandings between the Sierra Leonean authorities and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding the definitions of the quantitative performance criteria and indicative targets for the program supported by the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement, as well as the related reporting requirements. The definitions have been revised to ensure that the memorandum continues to reflect the best understanding of the Sierra Leonean authorities and the Fund staff in monitoring the program. Unless otherwise specified, all quantitative performance criteria and indicative targets will be evaluated in terms of cumulative flows from the beginning of the period, as specified in Table 4 of the attached Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies of the Government of Sierra Leone for January 1–December 31, 2006.

Definition

2. Program exchange rates. For the purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding, foreign currency denominated transactions will be converted into Sierra Leonean currency (leones) using the program exchange rates. For the 2006 program, the program exchange rates are specified as those at December 31, 2005 (the key exchange rates are shown in the box below).

Leone/US$

US$/Euro

US$/Pound

US$/SDR
2,933

1.180

1.722

1.429

Quantitative Performance Criteria: Definitions and Data Sources Gross Foreign Exchange Reserves of the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL)

3. Definition. Unless otherwise noted here, gross foreign exchange reserves of the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) will be defined as reserve assets of the BSL. Reserve assets are defined in the IMF’s Balance of Payments Manual (5th ed.) and elaborated in the reserve template of the Fund’s International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity: Guidelines for a Data Template. They exclude foreign assets not readily available to, or controlled by, the monetary authorities.

4. Gross foreign exchange reserves consist of (a) monetary gold; (b) foreign currency in cash; (c) unencumbered foreign currency deposits at non-resident banks; (d) foreign securities and deposits; (e) SDR holdings and Sierra Leone’s reserve position with the Fund; and (f) balances in the Bank of England account related to debt service to Paris Club creditors. Gross reserves will exclude nonconvertible currencies and pledged, swapped, or any encumbered reserves assets including but not limited to reserve assets used as collateral or guarantees for third party external liabilities.

5. Adjustment clauses. The floor on gross foreign exchange reserves will be adjusted (a) downward (or upward) by the amount in U.S. dollars of the shortfall/excess in programmed external budgetary assistance;36 (b) downward (upward) for any shortfall/excess in the U.S. dollar value of disbursements from the IMF under the PRGF arrangement; and (c) upward (or downward) for any increase (or decrease) in BSL short-term (one year or less in original maturity) foreign currency-liabilities (to residents and nonresidents).

6. Supporting material. Data on gross foreign exchange reserves, including its components, will be transmitted by the BSL to the Fund on a weekly basis within ten days of the end of each week.

Net Domestic Assets of the BSL

7. Definition. Net domestic assets (NDA) of the BSL are defined as the end-period (based on daily data) stocks, during the month of the test dates, of the reserve money less net foreign assets calculated at the program exchange rates. Reserve money includes currency in circulation and required reserves on leone deposits. Net foreign assets of the BSL are defined as gross foreign exchange reserves (defined above) minus foreign liabilities (defined below). The program definition of net domestic assets will be adjusted upward by the amount of debt relief received by the BSL under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative.

8. Foreign liabilities are defined as short-term (one year or less in original maturity) foreign currency-denominated liabilities of the BSL to nonresidents and the outstanding use of Fund credit.

9. Adjustment clauses. The ceiling on the NDA of the BSL will be adjusted upward by fifty percent of the amount of the shortfall in the external budgetary assistance at the test dates. The ceiling will be adjusted downward by the amount of the excess in the external budgetary assistance at the test dates.

10. Supporting material. Net domestic assets of the BSL will be transmitted to the Fund on a monthly basis within four weeks of the end of the month. This report will include foreign assets excluded from the definition of gross foreign exchange reserves in Section IIA above.

Net Domestic Bank Credit to the Central Government (NCG)

11. Definition. NCG refers to the net banking system’s claims on the central government and is defined as the following:

  • the net position of the government with commercial banks, including: (a) treasury bills; (b) bonds issued by the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone (GSL); (c) loans and advances; less (d) Central government deposits (defined to include account balances under the authority of controlling officers); plus
  • BSL holdings of (a) GSL statutory bonds; (b) ordinary GSL bonds; (c) bonds in respect of loans to current and former parastatals; (d) treasury bills on the trading portfolio of BSL; (e) other government stock; (f) HIPC debt relief deposits; less (g) special non-interest-bearing government stocks to cover foreign exchange valuation losses.

12. Adjustment clauses. The ceiling on the increase in NCG will be adjusted upward by up to fifty percent of the amount of the shortfall in external budgetary assistance. The ceiling will be adjusted downward by the amount of the excess in external budgetary assistance. The leone value of the cumulative shortfall or excess in external budgetary assistance will be converted at the program exchange rates. The ceiling will also be adjusted downward (upward) by the excess (shortfall) in the leone value of net issues of government securities to the nonbank private sector vis-à-vis the program target (specified in the memorandum items in Table 4 of the MEFP).

13. Supporting material. The data source for the above will be the series “Claims on Government (Net)” submitted to Fund staff on a weekly basis and reconciled with the monthly BSL monetary survey to be submitted to the Fund within six weeks of the end of each month. These data will be reconciled with monthly reports on treasury bill transactions and the ways-and-means account, and with treasury bearer bond transactions to be submitted to the Fund staff by the Ministry of Finance, within six weeks of the end of each month.

Domestic Primary Budget Balance of Central Government

14. Definition of Central government. Central government is defined for the purposes of this memorandum to comprise the central government and those special accounts that are classified as central government in the BSL statement of accounts. The National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) and public enterprises are excluded from this definition of central government.

15. The floor on the domestic primary budget balance of the central government is defined as domestic revenue minus total expenditure and net lending, excluding interest payments, externally financed capital expenditure, and the externally financed DDR program.

16. Supporting material. The data will be submitted to Fund staff by the Budget Unit of the Ministry of Finance (MFIN) within six weeks of the end of each month.

Domestic Revenue of Central Government

17. The floor on total domestic central government revenue is defined as total central government revenue, excluding external grants.

18. Supporting material. The data will be submitted to Fund staff by the Budget Unit of MFIN within six weeks of the end of each month.

Central Government Wage Bill

19. The ceiling on the government wage bill is defined as total expenditure outlays on wages, salaries, pensions, payments to NASSIT and cash allowances by the government.

20. Supporting material. The data will be submitted to Fund staff by the Budget Unit of the Ministry of Finance within six weeks of the end of each month.

Poverty-related Expenditures

21. Poverty-related expenditures refer to those expenditures in those areas identified in Table 2 of the Sierra Leone HIPC Decision Point Document. These budgetary expenditures include but are not limited to those sub-components that are financed by drawdown from the HIPC Relief Account at the BSL.

External Payment Arrears of the Public Sector

22. Definition. Official external payment arrears are defined as the stock of new external overdue debt-service payments by the public sector. For the purposes of this performance criterion, the public sector will comprise the central government, regional government, all public enterprises and the BSL. The nonaccumulation of external arrears is a performance criterion during the program period. Excluded from this performance criterion are those debts subject to rescheduling. This performance criterion will apply on a continuous basis.

23. Supporting material. Data on arrears are compiled jointly by the MFIN and the BSL and will be reported to Fund staff by the Budget Director of the MFIN on a quarterly basis within six weeks of the end of each quarter.

New Nonconcessional External Debt Contracted or Guaranteed by the Public Sector with an Original Maturity of One Year or More

24. Definition. Those are defined as all forms of new debt with original maturity of one year or more contracted or guaranteed by the public sector.37 This performance criterion applies not only to debt as defined in point 9 of the Guidelines on Performance Criteria with Respect to Foreign Debt (Decision No. 12274 (00/85), August 24, 2000) but also to commitments contracted or guaranteed for which value has not been received. This performance criterion will apply on a continuous basis. Excluded from this performance criterion are disbursements from the IMF and those debt subject to rescheduling. For the purposes of this performance criterion, the “public sector” consists of the central and regional governments and other public agencies, including the BSL.

25. Supporting material. Detailed data on all new concessional and non-concessional debt contracted or guaranteed will be provided to Fund staff by BSL/the Ministry of Finance on a quarterly basis within six weeks of the end of each quarter.

External Short-Term Debt Contracted or Guaranteed by the Public Sector

26. External short-term debt is defined as external debt stock with a maturity of less than one year contracted or guaranteed by the public sector. Debt is defined in Annex 1 of this Technical Memorandum of Understanding. For this purpose, short-term debt will exclude normal trade credit for imports. This performance criterion will apply on a continuous basis. For the purposes of this performance criterion, the public sector consists of the central and regional governments and other public agencies, including the BSL.

27. Supporting material. A comprehensive report on all new external debt with original maturity of less than one year owed or contracted by the public sector will be transmitted to Fund staff by the BSL on a quarterly basis within four weeks of the end of each quarter.

Subsidies to the NPA

28. The term “subsidy” refers to any financial government support (i.e., unrequited transfers) to the National Power Authority (NPA). It does not include the government’s on-lending of external loans for capital expenditure of the enterprise. The subsidy is to be reduced by the amount of arrears accumulating in regard to the charges for government’s electricity consumption. This performance criterion will apply on a continuous basis.

Program–Monitoring Committee

29. Definition. The Sierra Leonean authorities shall maintain a program-monitoring committee composed of senior officials from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Development and Planning; the Bank of Sierra Leone, and other relevant agencies. The committee shall be responsible for monitoring the performance of the program, recommending policy responses, informing the Fund regularly about the progress of the program, and transmitting the supporting materials necessary for the evaluation of performance criteria and benchmarks. The committee shall provide the Fund with a progress report on the program on a monthly basis within four weeks of the end of each month, using the latest available data.

Data Reporting to the Fund Domestic Prices

30. Reporting standard. the monthly disaggregated consumer price index will be transmitted within four weeks of the end of each month.

Government Accounts Data

31. Reporting standard. A consolidated budget report of the central government comprising (a) the revenue data by each major item, including those collected by the National Revenue Authority, as well as privatization receipts to the budget; (b) details of the recurrent and capital expenditure of the central government; (c) details of budget financing (domestic and external), which will be transmitted on a monthly basis within six weeks of the end of each month; and (d) details on the government’s outstanding arrears outstanding, including payments and other arrangements to discharge them (these data will be transmitted on a monthly basis within six weeks of the end of each quarter).

Monetary Sector Data

32. Reporting standard. The balance sheet of the central bank and the consolidated balance sheets of the commercial banks will be transmitted on a monthly basis within six weeks of the end of each month. A special report on transactions in the HIPC relief account at the BSL will be provided to the Fund on a monthly basis within six weeks of the end of each month. The results of the treasury bill auctions will be transmitted on a biweekly basis within five business days. The stocks of government securities, balances in the divestiture account, detailed information on interbank loans (terms, duration, and participating institutions), and interest rate developments will be transmitted on a monthly basis within two weeks of the end of each month.

External Sector Data

33. Reporting standard. The following standard will be adhered to: (a) the interbank market exchange rate, as the simple average of the daily-weighted average buying and selling rates, will be transmitted on a weekly basis within five business days of the end of the week; (b) the results of foreign exchange auctions (on a weekly or more frequent basis) will be transmitted on a weekly basis within five business days of the end of each week; and (c) the foreign exchange cash flow data will be transmitted on a quarterly basis within six weeks of the end of each quarter.

APPENDIX I ATTACHMENT III ANNEX 1 Implementation of the Revised Guidelines on Performance Criteria with Respect to Foreign Debt

The term “debt” has the meaning set forth in point No. 9 of the Guidelines on Performance Criteria with Respect to Foreign Debt adopted on August 24, 2000 which reads as follows: “(a) For the purpose of this guideline, the term “debt” will be understood to mean a current, i.e., not contingent, liability, created under a contractual arrangement through the provision of value in the form of assets (including currency) or services, and which requires the obligor to make one or more payments in the form of assets (including currency) or services, at some future point(s) in time; these payments will discharge the principal and/or interest liabilities incurred under the contract. Debts can take a number of forms, the primary ones being as follows: (i) loans, i.e., advances of money to obligor by the lender made on the basis of an undertaking that the obligor will repay the funds in the future (including deposits, bonds, debentures, commercial loans and buyers’ credits) and temporary exchanges of assets that are equivalent to fully collateralized loans under which the obligor is required to repay the funds, and usually pay interest, by repurchasing the collateral from the buyer in the future (such as repurchase agreements and official swap arrangements); (ii) suppliers’ credits, i.e., contracts where the supplier permits the obligor to defer payments until some time after the date on which the goods are delivered or services are provided; and (iii) leases, i.e., arrangements under which property is provided which the lessee has the right to use for one or more specified period(s) of time that are usually shorter than the total expected service life of the property, while the lessor retains the title to the property. For the purpose of the guideline, the debt is the present value (at the inception of the lease) of all lease payments expected to be made during the period of the agreement excluding those payments that cover the operation, repair or maintenance of the property. (b) Under the definition of debt set out in point 9(a) above, arrears, penalties, and judicially awarded damages arising from the failure to make payment under a contractual obligation that constitutes debt are debt. Failure to make payment on an obligation that is not considered debt under this definition (e.g., payment on delivery) will not give rise to debt”]. (B) Excluded from this performance criterion are normal import-related credits, disbursements from the IMF, and those debts subject to rescheduling arrangements.

APPENDIX II Sierra Leone: Relations with the Fund

(As of December 31, 2005)

I. Membership Status: Joined 9/10/62; Article VIII

II. General Resources Account:

SDR Million% Quota
Quota103.70100.00
Fund holdings of currency103.6999.99
Fund holdings of currency Reserve position0.020.02

III. SDR Department:

SDR Million% Allocation
Net cumulative allocation17.45100.00
Holdings22.93131.36

IV. Outstanding Purchases and Loans:

SDR Million% Quota
PRGF Arrangements134.39129.60

V. Latest Financial Arrangements:

AmountAmount
ApprovalExpirationApprovedDrawn
TypeDateDate(SDR Million)(SDR Million)
PRGF9/26/016/25/05130.84130.84
PRGF3/28/945/04/98101.9096.85
SAF3/28/943/27/9527.0227.02

VI. Projected Payments to Fund (without HIPC assistance)

(SDR Million; based on existing use of resources and present holdings of SDRs):

Forthcoming
20062007200820092010
Principal3.0510.8116.3719.1724.77
Charges/interest0.670.630.560.480.37
Total3.7111.4416.9319.6425.14

Projected Payments to Fund (with Board-approved HIPC Initiative Assistance)

(SDR Million; based on existing use of resources and present holdings of SDRs):

Forthcoming
20052006200720082009
Principal0.093.0510.8116.3719.17
Charges/interest0.340.670.630.560.48
Total0.443.7111.4416.9319.64

VII. Implementation of HIPC Initiative

Enhanced
Framework
Commitment of HIPC Initiative assistance
Decision point dateMarch 2002
Assistance committed (NPV terms)38end-2000
Total assistance by all creditors (F94million)600.00
Of which: IMF assistance (US$ million)123.30
(SDR equivalent in millions)98.48
Completion point dateFloating
Disbursement of IMF assistance (SDR million)
Amount disbursed66.03
Interim assistance66.03
Completion point balance0.0
Total disbursements66.03

VIII. Safeguards Assessment

Under the Fund’s safeguards assessment policy, the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) is subject to an assessment with respect to the proposed PRGF arrangement. A safeguards assessment was completed in July 2002 with respect to the PRGF arrangement approved on September 26, 2001.

IX. Exchange Rate Arrangement

The exchange ratea system is officially classified as independently floating. However, the nominal exchange rate of the leone vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar has depreciated steadily since the middle of 2002, suggesting that the rate has been managed through the participation of the BSL in the foreign exchange market through weekly auctions. The BSL calculates the official exchange rate every Friday morning as the weighted average of the auction rate, the comercial banks’mid-rate, and the bureaus’ mid-rate in the previous week, for customs valuation purposes and for official transactions. As of January 18, 2006, the BSL mid-rate was Le 2,927.93=US$1. Commercial banks may buy and sell foreign exchange from/to individual customers, as well as trade among themselves or with the BSL on a freely negotiable basis. The exchange rate regime classification will be reviewed in the context of the next Article IV Consultations.

With effect from December 14, 1995, Sierra Leone has accepted the obligations of Article VIII, Sections 2, 3, and 4. On June 29, 2001, Sierra Leone removed the remaining exchange restriction, in the form of a tax clearance certificate required for payments and transfers of certain types of current international transactions.

X. Article IV Consultation

The 2004 Article IV consultation was concluded by the Executive Board on November 12, 2004. The next Article IV consultation with Sierra Leone will be held in accordance with the provisions of the decision on consultation cycles approved on July 15, 2002.

XI. Technical Assistance

MissionsDate
MFD mission on improving foreign exchange auction.January/February 2000
FAD mission to conduct fiscal sector review and to recommend reforms in expenditure management and revenue administration.May 2001
MFD mission on financial sector issues.October 1999
MFD mission on banking supervision and regulation; monetary operations and framework; and payment systems.May/June 2001
MFD mission to assess TA needs of the BSL, banking supervision, and central bank management.November 2001
FAD mission to review public expenditure management systems.June 2002
STA mission to assess the legal-institutional framework for statistics.June 2002
MFD mission on banking supervision and regulation and monetary operations and framework.December 2002
STA GDDS project mission on monetary and financial accounts.April 2003
STA GDDS project mission on BOP.April 2003
MFD mission on monetary operations, banking supervision, and payment systems.May/June 2003
STA GDDS follow-up project mission on BOP.November 2003
MFD mission to provide and plan follow-up TA to the BSL on monetary operations, banking supervision, and payment systems.November 2003
FAD mission to review the tariff and indirect tax system, National Revenue Authority, and tax and customs administration.February 2004
STA GDDS project mission on strategic planning.March 2004
FAD mission to review the system of fiscal incentives, especially the special tax regimes applied to mining and petroleum sectors.March/April 2004
STA GDDS project mission on national accounts.April 2004
STA GDDS project study tour for Sierra Leonean officials to Kenya on strategic planning.August 2004
STA GDDS project mission on national accounts.September 2004
STA GDDS project mission on BOP issues.September/October 2004
STA GDDS project mission on monetary-fiscal accounts reconciliation.October 2004
MFD multi-topic technical assistance mission.November 2004
STA GDDS project mission on monetary-fiscal accounts reconciliation.February 2005
STA GDDS project mission on national accounts.February 2005
MFD multi-topic technical assistance mission.November 2005
STA GDDS project mission on national accounts.January 2006

XII. Resident Representative

Mr. Dennis Jones assumed responsibility for the Fund office in August 2005. Mr. Jones is also the Fund’s resident representative in Guinea and stationed in Conakry.

APPENDIX III Sierra Leone: Relations with the World Bank Group

The Bank’s Board endorsed a Transitional Support Strategy (TSS) for Sierra Leone for FY 2002–03 on March 26, 2002. Under the TSS, the World Bank, through IDA, has assisted the government in pursuing four main objectives: (i) consolidating peace; (ii) resettlement, reconstruction and reintegration; (iii) improving governance; and (iv) maintaining a macroeconomic framework conducive to recovery. Instruments used in supporting these objectives include the second Public Sector Management Support Project (PSMS II), the Second and Third Economic Rehabilitation and Recovery Credits (ERRC II and III), the Basic Education Project, the Health Sector Reconstruction Project, the Transport Sector project (now called Power and Water), the Institutional Reform and Capacity Building Project (IRCB), and the National Social Action Project. The Bank also supports the Government’s HIV/AIDS Program through the Multi-Sector HIV/AIDS Response Project approved in 2002 under the MAP II.

The Bank has prepared a new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) following continued progress in establishing security and governance as well as the completion of the new PRSP. The new CAS, approved in June 2005, supports the strategy outlined in the PRSP for a transition to policies and programs for sustained growth and poverty reduction with gradually decreasing emphasis on post-conflict needs. The continued maintenance of a stable macroeconomic framework is considered to be a prerequisite for World Bank program support.

In FY 2005, the Bank provided a US$35 million credit for the Power and Water Project, a US$15 million grant for adjustment support (ERRC IV), and a US$12.5 million grant for the Completion of the Bumbuna Hydroelectric Dam (along with a US$30 million partial risk guarantee). In FY 2006, operations include only the US$44 million grant for the Infrastructure Development Project (Transport). In FY07, the operational program includes US$10 million in adjustment support, a small US$5 million mining technical assistance operation and a US$28 million investment in the PSD/rural sector.

As of December 31, 2005, the World Bank Group has approved 50 loans, credits and grants for a total of US$795.9 million, with an undisbursed amount of US$154.9 million. The current portfolio consists of eight operations, as summarized in the table below, in the areas of poverty reduction, education, health, HIV/AIDS, transportation, and power totaling about US$206.5 million.

Sierra Leone: Financial Relations with the World Bank Group(As of December 31, 2005; in millions of U.S. dollars)
CommitmentsOf which:
IBRDIDAUndisbursed
IBRD/IDA Lending Operations
HIV/AIDS Response Project0.0015.06.08
Rehabilitation of Basic Education0.0020.0G/11.69
Health Sector Reconstruction0.0020.0G/14.55
National Social Action Project0.0035.020.31
Institutional Reform and Capacity Building0.0025.0G/15.22
Power and Water0.0035.031.92
Completion of Bumbuna Hydroelectric Project0.0012.512.01
Infrastructure Development Project (Transport)0.0044.0G/43.99
Total0.00206.5155.77
Total disbursed (IBRD and IDA)*18.7612.0
Of which: repaid18.1642.6
* of which: Total disbursed IDA Grants41.8
Source: World Bank Group.

Loan type = IDA Grant (all others are IDA Credits).

Source: World Bank Group.

Loan type = IDA Grant (all others are IDA Credits).

World Bank Contact: Douglas M. Addison, Senior Economist, Macroeconomics 4, Africa Region, the World Bank (phone: 202-473-1188).

APPENDIX IV Sierra Leone: Debt Sustainability Analysis

This appendix assesses the sustainability of Sierra Leone’s external and domestic public debt. The debt sustainability analysis (DSA) was conducted jointly by the staffs of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) using the new Debt Sustainability Framework (DSF) for low-income countries. The external and domestic debt data underlying this DSA were provided by the authorities of Sierra Leone and reconciled in the case of its three main multilateral creditors.39A full reconciliation of external debt will be conducted by the time Sierra Leone reaches the HIPC completion point. On the basis of the analysis of the baseline scenario and several alternative scenarios, the staffs conclude that Sierra Leone faces a moderate risk of external debt distress. In the case of domestic obligations, the staffs recommend that the Sierra Leonean authorities further review the fiscal implications of converting non-interest bearing obligations to the Bank of Sierra Leone into interest-bearing government liabilities.

I. Background

1. Sierra Leone reached the HIPC Decision Point in 2002. Since then, it has received HIPC interim assistance from various multilateral and bilateral creditors. Based on external debt data for end-2000, the Boards of IDA and the IMF approved debt relief worth US$600 million in end-2000 NPV terms. Interim relief in the form of debt service reductions was provided by IDA, the IMF, the AfDB, and the European Union.40 The OPEC Fund provided interim relief through an arrears clearance and the Paris Club provided interim assistance on Cologne terms on maturities falling due in the interim period. Some Paris Club creditors, like Italy, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, agreed to cancel in full debt service payments falling due during the interim period. Of the non-Paris Club bilateral creditors China and Morocco have provided assistance outside the HIPC Initiative through debt cancellations.41

2. The government also benefited from a debt buy-back under the IDA debt reduction facility in 1995. At that time, the program received financial support from IDA, EU, and the government of Sierra Leone. A second IDA debt reduction program, currently in the procurement phase, would cover the currently outstanding commercial debt which is estimated at US$251 million at end-2004.42

3. At end 2004, Sierra Leone’s nominal public external debt including arrears stood at US$ 1,720 million (161 percent of GDP). Two-thirds were owed to multilateral creditors and the remainder to bilateral and commercial creditors (Table 1). Sierra Leone’s external debt stock has increased by 43 percent since 2000, the base year of the HIPC Decision Point. Part of this increase can be explained with new disbursements between 2000 and 2004 which are estimated to have been in the range of US$414 million. The debt stock also rose due to commercial debt that was not known at the Decision Point.43 This substantial increase is a result of contractor-related arrears which were identified as the country emerged from the period of conflict to peace.

Table 1.Debt Outstanding at End-2004
CreditorUS$Percent
Multilateral, of which:1,061,796,49462
IDA564,727,78733
AfDB206,373,42512
IMF194,159,60511
Bilateral397,203,54623
Commercial1/261,080,73115
Total1,720,080,770100

Of which, US$251 million are in arrears.

Sources: Government of Sierra Leone and staff estimates.

Of which, US$251 million are in arrears.

Sources: Government of Sierra Leone and staff estimates.

4. Sierra Leone’s domestic debt stock has fallen to 33 percent of GDP in 2004 from 57 percent of GDP in 2000.44 This decline was the result of high GDP growth after the civil war, as well as the reduction in the fiscal deficit to 3½ percent of GDP in 2004 from almost 11 percent of GDP in 2001. Domestic borrowing has been costly, however, with interest rates on treasury bills fluctuating between 15 and 27 percent between 2000 and 2004. Interest payments on domestic debt consumed a substantial portion of government revenues (30 percent, excluding all grants) in 2004.

5. Gross domestic debt is mainly held by the Bank of Sierra Leone, commercial banks, and the National Social Security Investment Trust (NASSIT). Just over half of the end-2004 stock of domestic debt comprises non-interest bearing, non-negotiable securities with no maturity (about US$185 million using end-2004 exchange rate), which the government issued in 1996 and 2000 to the central bank (BSL) to cover the central bank’s foreign currency revaluation and operational losses from the conflict period.45 The remainder of the domestic debt stock is predominantly short-term in nature and therefore subject to a significant roll-over risk.46

II Methodology and Key Assumptions

6. Under the new DSF, the evolution of the external and domestic public debt stock and debt service indicators are analyzed under a baseline scenario and a series of stress tests in order to assess a country’s probability of facing debt distress in the future.47 The assessment of external debt sustainability is guided by indicative, country-specific debt burden thresholds related to a country’s quality of policies and institutions as measured by the World Bank’s Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA). According to the 2004 CPIA, Sierra Leone ranks as a “weak performer” in the quality of its policies and institutions. Indicative external debt burden thresholds for countries in this category are a NPV of debt-to-exports ratio of 100 percent, NPV of debt-to-revenue ratio of 200 percent, a NPV of debt-to-GDP ratio of 30 percent, and debt-service-to-exports and revenues ratios of 15 and 25 percent, respectively.48

7. The analysis underlying the DSA is subject to a number of assumptions. The external debt numbers underlying the analysis assume the full delivery of HIPC debt relief (including a buy-back of external commercial debt anticipated for 2007) and additional bilateral debt relief after the expected HIPC completion point in July 2006. New borrowing is assumed to come predominantly from external resources and is driven by fiscal assumptions on grant assistance, revenues and expenditures. New external borrowing is projected to be contracted primarily on IDA terms throughout the entire projections period. New domestic borrowing is assumed to continue to be available only at very short maturities (no more than a year). The share of grants (program and project) in the fiscal financing is assumed to fall over time as the economy becomes less aid dependent: from almost 7 percent of GDP in 2004 to just under 3 percent of GDP by 2025 (excluding HIPC assistance). The underlying macroeconomic assumptions are outlined in Box 1 below.

8. Staffs’ assessment of the country’s risk for future debt distress is informed by both the external and fiscal debt sustainability analysis. In addition to the baseline scenario and stress tests of the DSA, staffs have considered three additional stress tests: one entertains the implications of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), a second simulates the effect of a two-year delay in the restart of the rutile and bauxite mines which is scheduled for 2006 under the baseline and the third simulates the impact of paying interest and amortization on what is currently non-interest bearing domestic public debt with no maturity owed to the Bank of Sierra Leone.

Box 1:Macroeconomic Assumptions 2006-2025

The medium-term assumptions in the baseline scenario for 2006-2025 are consistent with the proposed IMF PRGF supported program. Key macroeconomic assumptions include the maintenance of a sustained high real GDP growth rate and a stable macroeconomic environment. Substantial mineral endowments, which are expected to be fully rehabilitated in the medium-term, combined with growing exports of cash crops would support the balance of payments and growth, as well as enhance fiscal sustainability.

  • The baseline scenario assumes a sustained high output growth and low inflation. Output growth is projected to slow gradually to 5 percent annually by 2025 from 7.4 percent in 2006. Consumer price inflation is projected to decline to 5 percent towards the end of the period from 9.5 percent in 2006.
  • The external trade balance would improve by 5 percentage points of GDP between 2006 and 2014 and then stabilize at a deficit of 11 percent of GDP, reflecting robust export growth. This reflects, initially, the restart of rutile and bauxite production and exports as well as continued strong growth in diamond exports. Imports of goods and services would grow in line with the nominal GDP, following some additional investment-related imports in the initial years for the expansion of the newly restarted rutile and bauxite mines. The current account deficit is projected to narrow to 4½ percent of GDP by 2025 from just less than 7 percent of GDP in 2006 as interest obligations gradually fall as a share of GDP.
  • External grants to government were equivalent to an average of 5 percent of GDP per annum in the initial years after the end of the conflict (2002-2005). Following a successful consultative group meeting in London in November 2005, grants are expected to rise to 7.7 percent of GDP in 2006 from 6.8 percent of GDP in 2005 in support of the government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. For the remainder of the projection period, the baseline scenario includes the conservative assumption that grants will fall gradually to 3 percent of GDP by 2025 as post-conflict needs fade.
  • A reversion of external grant assistance to traditional levels will require fiscal adjustment. The main elements of the envisioned adjustment include steady gains in revenue collection through improved administration and augmentation of the revenue base. Revenues collected would steadily rise from 12.6 percent in 2006 to the average for HIPC completion point countries of 15 percent by the end of the period. Revenues would fully cover all recurrent expenditures from 2018 onward rather than the 67 percent covered in 2005. Recurrent expenditures, excluding interest, would rise from 13.5 percent of GDP in 2006 to 14 percent of GDP in 2010 and then stabilize at that level. Development spending would increase to a peak of 6.6 percent of GDP by 2015 from 3.4 percent in 2006 and then gradually fall to 5.8 percent of GDP by 2025, with some increase in domestic development expenditures to offset the fall in donor-funded projects. The reduction in development expenditures is consistent with the deceleration of the rate of real growth in the economy in the outer years.

III External Debt Sustainability

9. Under the baseline scenario, Sierra Leone’s external debt burden indicators would sharply decline following the delivery of full debt relief at the HIPC completion point. The NPV of public and publicly guaranteed debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 88 percent in 2005 and would fall to about 31 percent in 2006 following debt relief (reaching the threshold) and gradually further to about 23 percent by 2025 (Table 4). The NPV of debt-to-exports ratio would fall to 111 percent in 2006 and below 100 percent by 2010 from 364 percent in 2005. It would then gradually decline to about 72 percent by 2025. The external debt service-to-export ratio would remain well below its threshold for the entire period, both under the baseline and under most stress tests. The NPV of external debt-to-revenue ratio (excluding all grants) would fall from 719 percent in 2005 to 243 percent after the projected Completion Point and then gradually decline until it would fall below the indicative debt burden threshold of 200 in 2012.

Table 2:Historical and Projected Economic Indicators
Historical 1995-20042005-102011-25
Standard
AverageDeviationAverageAverage
Non-interest current account balance (in percent of GDP)-7.05.1-5.8-4.2
Real GDP growth3.813.26.65.5
GDP deflator in U.S. dollars-1.19.24.01.2
Export growth (US dollar terms, in percent)3.123.416.67.0
Net transfers to GDP ratio5.37.610.87.5
Net non-debt creating flows (FDI) to GDP ratio0.50.81.61.6
Source: Staff calculations.
Source: Staff calculations.
Table 3.Sierra Leone: External Debt Sustainability Framework, Baseline Scenario, 2002-2025 1/(In percent of GDP, unless otherwise indicated)
actualHistorical

Average 6/
Standard

Deviation 6/
Projections
2005-102011-25
2004200520062007200820092010Average20152025Average
External debt (nominal) 1/193.4170.4152.3120.6106.998.289.761.738.4
o/w public and publicly guaranteed (PPG)160.6140.9126.497.687.080.574.354.037.9
Change in external debt27.9-23.0-18.0-31.7-13.7-8.7-8.5-4.0-1.4
Identified net debt-creating flows-8.8-14.6-12.8-10.1-8.7-4.3-4.4-0.70.0
Non-interest current account deficit4.27.04.97.65.96.45.84.84.55.84.63.94.2
Deficit in balance of goods and services15.618.716.415.514.213.012.411.311.2
Exports22.324.027.928.829.029.730.029.831.3
Imports37.942.744.344.343.242.742.441.142.5
Net current transfers (negative = inflow)-13.6-5.37.4-12.8-11.8-11.0-10.1-9.8-9.4-10.8-7.5-7.4-7.5
Other current account flows (negative = net inflow)2.31.71.31.91.71.61.50.70.0
Net FDI (negative = inflow)-1.2-0.50.7-3.3-1.4-1.3-1.3-1.3-1.2-1.6-1.3-2.3-1.6
Endogenous debt dynamics 2/-11.9-18.9-17.3-15.2-13.2-7.8-7.7-4.0-1.7
Contribution from nominal interest rate0.70.91.00.40.50.50.50.50.5
Contribution from real GDP growth-11.3-12.6-11.2-8.9-6.5-6.0-5.9-3.5-1.9
Contribution from price and exchange rate changes-1.3-7.2-7.0-6.6-7.2-2.4-2.3 #-0.9-0.3
Residual (3-4) 3/36.7-8.5-5.3-21.6-5.0-4.4-4.1-3.3-1.4
o/w exceptional financing-3.0-2.8-2.1-2.5-2.2-2.0-1.9-1.7-0.8
NPV of external debt 4/125.1117.056.854.149.947.644.733.723.2
In percent of exports560.6486.8204.1187.5172.1160.0148.9113.174.1
NPV of PPG external debt92.387.630.831.030.029.929.226.022.7
In percent of exports413.6364.3110.7107.5103.6100.697.487.272.5
In percent of revenues748.2719.2242.7235.4220.6217.3208.2180.9150.3
Debt service-to-exports ratio (in percent)9.910.28.13.46.57.29.06.87.7
PPG debt service-to-exports ratio (in percent)9.49.56.62.23.74.35.74.45.5
PPG debt service-to-revenue ratio (in percent)16.918.714.44.77.99.312.29.111.4
Total gross financing need (billions of U.S. dollars)0.10.10.10.10.10.10.10.20.2
Non-interest current account deficit that stabilizes debt ratio-23.730.624.038.119.513.513.08.65.3
Key macroeconomic assumptions
Real GDP growth (in percent)7.43.812.77.27.46.56.16.16.66.65.85.15.5
GDP deflator in US dollar terms (change in percent)0.8-1.111.43.94.34.56.42.32.44.01.40.71.2
Effective interest rate (percent) 5/0.41.00.50.50.60.30.50.50.60.50.81.41.0
Growth of exports of G&S (US dollar terms, in percent)21.13.123.420.029.815.213.511.210.216.67.36.17.0
Growth of imports of G&S (US dollar terms, in percent)-0.614.212.925.516.211.49.97.48.313.17.56.26.8
Grant element of new public sector borrowing (in percent)43.939.542.742.845.047.543.647.147.047.1
Memorandum item:
Nominal GDP (billions of US dollars)1.11.21.31.51.71.82.02.95.3
Source: Staff simulations.

Includes both public and private sector external debt.

Derived as [r - g - ρ(1+g)]/(1+g+ρ+gρ) times previous period debt ratio, with r = nominal interest rate; g = real GDP growth rate, and ρ = growth rate of GDP deflator in U.S. dollar terms.

Includes exceptional financing (i.e., changes in arrears and debt relief); changes in gross foreign assets; and valuation adjustments. For projections also includes contribution from price and exchange rate changes.

Includes private sector debt.

Current-year interest payments devided by previous period debt stock.

Historical averages and standard deviations are generally derived over the past 10 years (1995-2004), subject to data availability.

Source: Staff simulations.

Includes both public and private sector external debt.

Derived as [r - g - ρ(1+g)]/(1+g+ρ+gρ) times previous period debt ratio, with r = nominal interest rate; g = real GDP growth rate, and ρ = growth rate of GDP deflator in U.S. dollar terms.

Includes exceptional financing (i.e., changes in arrears and debt relief); changes in gross foreign assets; and valuation adjustments. For projections also includes contribution from price and exchange rate changes.

Includes private sector debt.

Current-year interest payments devided by previous period debt stock.

Historical averages and standard deviations are generally derived over the past 10 years (1995-2004), subject to data availability.

Table 4.Sierra Leone: Sensitivity Analyses for Key Indicators of Public and Publicly Guaranteed External Debt, 2005-25(In percent)
EstimateProjections
200520062007200820092010201520202025
NPV of debt-to-GDP ratio
Baseline883131303029262523
MDRI Scenario881617181920212221
A. Alternative Scenarios
A1. Key variables at their historical averages in 2006-25 1/883540444852698698
A2. New public sector loans on less favorable terms in 2006-25 2/883233323333343635
B. Bound Tests
B1. Real GDP growth at historical average minus one standard deviation in 2006-07883743424241363632
B2. Export value growth at historical average minus one standard deviation in 2006-07 3/883746434341353227
B2b: Delay in bauxite and rutile production by two years (starting 2008 instead of 2006)883848454442363227
B3. US dollar GDP deflator at historical average minus one standard deviation in 2006-07883642414040353531
B4. Net non-debt creating flows at historical average minus one standard deviation in 2006-07 4/883947454443363227
B5. Combination of B1-B4 using one-half standard deviation shocks885079757371605243
B6. One-time 30 percent nominal depreciation relative to the baseline in 2006 5/884343424241363632
NPV of debt-to-exports ratio
Baseline36411110710410197878272
MDRI Scenario3645861636567727266
A. Alternative Scenarios
A1. Key variables at their historical averages in 2006-25 1/364125140152161172231278314
A2. New public sector loans on less favorable terms in 2006-25 2/364113113112111111114117113
B. Bound Tests
B1. Real GDP growth at historical average minus one standard deviation in 2006-0736411110710410197878272
B2. Export value growth at historical average minus one standard deviation in 2006-07 3/364215371352338325280242201
B2b: Delay in bauxite and rutile production by two years (starting 2008 instead of 2006)36415620016815514812110386
B3. US dollar GDP deflator at historical average minus one standard deviation in 2006-0736411110710410197878272
B4. Net non-debt creating flows at historical average minus one standard deviation in 2006-07 4/36414216415514914312210587
B5. Combination of B1-B4 using one-half standard deviation shocks364210329310297285241203165
B6. One-time 30 percent nominal depreciation relative to the baseline in 2006 5/36411110710410197878272
Debt service to exports ratio
Baseline972446446
MDRI Scenario961112445
A. Alternative Scenarios
A1. Key variables at their historical averages in 2006-25 1/973569101321
A2. New public sector loans on less favorable terms in 2006-25 2/972456568
B. Bound Tests
B1. Real GDP growth at historical average minus one standard deviation in 2006-07972446446
B2. Export value growth at historical average minus one standard deviation in 2006-07 3/9116111215161416
B2 -b: Delay in bauxite and rutile production by two years (starting 2008 instead of 2006)983567767
B3. US dollar GDP deflator at historical average minus one standard deviation in 2006-07972446446
B4. Net non-debt creating flows at historical average minus one standard deviation in 2006-07 4/973557767
B5. Combination of B1-B4 using one-half standard deviation shocks99591012141213
B6. One-time 30 percent nominal depreciation relative to the baseline in 2006 5/972446446
Memorandum item:
Grant element assumed on residual financing (i.e., financing required above baseline) 6/454545454545454545
Sources: The World Bank; and Fund staff estimates.

Variables include real GDP growth, growth of GDP deflator (in U.S. dollar terms), non-interest current account in percent of GDP, and non-debt creating flows.

Assumes that the interest rate on new borrowing is by 2 percentage points higher than in the baseline., while grace and maturity periods are the same as in the baseline.

Exports values are assumed to remain permanently at the lower level, but the current account as a share of GDP is assumed to return to its baseline level after the shock (implicitly assuming an offsetting adjustment in import levels).

Includes official and private transfers and FDI.

Depreciation is defined as percentage decline in dollar/local currency rate, such that it never exceeds 100 percent.

Applies to all stress scenarios except for A2 (less favorable financing) in which the terms on all new financing are as specified in footnote 2.

Sources: The World Bank; and Fund staff estimates.

Variables include real GDP growth, growth of GDP deflator (in U.S. dollar terms), non-interest current account in percent of GDP, and non-debt creating flows.

Assumes that the interest rate on new borrowing is by 2 percentage points higher than in the baseline., while grace and maturity periods are the same as in the baseline.

Exports values are assumed to remain permanently at the lower level, but the current account as a share of GDP is assumed to return to its baseline level after the shock (implicitly assuming an offsetting adjustment in import levels).

Includes official and private transfers and FDI.

Depreciation is defined as percentage decline in dollar/local currency rate, such that it never exceeds 100 percent.

Applies to all stress scenarios except for A2 (less favorable financing) in which the terms on all new financing are as specified in footnote 2.

10. The MDRI would further reduce Sierra Leone’s external debt burden. The NPV of debt-to-GDP ratio would fall to an average of 21 percent for the period 2006–2025 (Table 4). The NPV of debt-to-exports ratio would fall to 58 percent in 2006 and then gradually rise to 66 percent by 2025. The external debt-service-to-export ratio would fall even further below its threshold. The NPV of external debt-to-revenue ratio (excluding all grants) would fall to 128 percent in 2006 and remain below the threshold of 200 percent thereafter.

11. Stress tests reveal that Sierra Leone’s external debt sustainability is vulnerable to a number of down-side risks (Figure 1). The debt burden indicators are close to or above the indicative thresholds for nearly all stress tests.49 Most strikingly, under the historical values test 49, the NPV of debt-to-export ratio rises rapidly to levels four times as high as those of the baseline by 2025.

Figure 1.Sierra Leone: Indicators of Public and Publicly Guaranteed External Debt Under Alternative Scenarios, 2005-25

(In percent)

Source: IMF and WB Staff projections and simulations.

12. These stress tests must be interpreted with some care. While the magnitude of the shocks lies within the realm of possibility, the probability of such shocks occurring is low for some. In particular, in staffs’ view of the staffs, the historical and export shock scenarios (labeled A1 and B2 in Table 4 below) both overstate risks to the economy. Both scenarios include data for the most violent episodes in the country’s civil conflict (which ended in January 2002) and also include the costly reconstruction that followed the end of the conflict.50 For example, as shown in Table 2 below, the historical average for the non-interest current account balance was 2 percentage points of GDP higher than the projected share for 2005-10. The historical growth rates for real GDP and exports are also substantially lower (and display very high standard deviations) than the projected rates—by roughly 3 and 14 percentage points respectively. In the judgment of the staffs, the likelihood that this historical pattern would be repeated is quite low.51

13. A delay in the projected recovery of the export base could undermine external debt sustainability. In the extreme event that export value growth stays at historically low levels in 2006 and 2007 (Table 4), the NPV of debt to export ratio could reach levels approaching 400 in 2007 and declining to 200 percent by 2025. In the more realistic but also less dramatic case where the restart of bauxite and rutile is simply delayed by two years (programmed to start from 2006 onwards), the debt burden indicators would deteriorate significantly in the short term (200 percent in 2007) before falling to 100 percent by 2021 (bound test B2b).

IV. Fiscal Debt Sustainability

14. Sierra Leone’s large domestic debt represents a significant additional burden. Adding the NPV of domestic debt, including arrears, to the NPV of external obligations raises the debt-to-GDP ratio in 2004 by 33 percentage points of GDP for a total of 115 percent of GDP. (Table 5). The NPV of debt-to-revenue ratio for 2004 stands at 692 percent (if the revenue base includes grants) while the debt-service-to-revenue ratio is 27 percent.

Table 5.Sierra Leone: Public Sector Debt Sustainability Framework, Baseline Scenario, 2005-2025(In percent of GDP, unless otherwise indicated)
ActualHistorical Average 5/Standard Deviation 5/EstimateProjections
2005-102011-25
2004200520062007200820092010Average20152025Average
Public sector debt 1/237.4222.035.4203.8182.6143.4126.9111.697.1144.265.443.859.9
o/w foreign-currency denominated204.7177.930.5176.2159.5123.3109.397.386.5125.363.039.256.6
Change in public sector debt16.013.243.4-33.6-21.2-39.2-16.5-15.3-14.5-23.4-4.7-0.9-3.6
Identified debt-creating flows-20.8-20.941.5-29.5-16.7-17.7-11.7-9.6-8.1-15.6-1.30.4-0.6
Primary deficit1.24.71.7-1.61.01.41.61.62.01.02.72.02.3
Revenue and grants18.114.14.318.918.518.318.418.318.418.518.117.918.1
of which: grants5.73.32.16.85.85.24.74.64.45.23.72.83.5
Primary (noninterest) expenditure19.318.94.817.319.519.719.919.920.519.520.719.920.4
Automatic debt dynamics-22.0-25.541.4-27.9-17.4-18.6-12.8-10.9-9.8-16.2-3.9-1.6-2.9
Contribution from interest rate/growth differential-19.2-28.320.2-23.0-16.1-11.7-8.1-7.5-7.1-12.2-4.3-2.1-3.6
of which : contribution from average real interest rate-4.0-4.96.1-6.9-2.1-0.50.1-0.2-0.2-1.6-0.40.1-0.2
of which : contribution from real GDP growth-15.2-7.225.6-16.0-14.0-11.2-8.2-7.3-6.9-10.6-3.8-2.2-3.4
Contribution from real exchange rate depreciation-2.82.832.9-4.9-1.3-7.0-4.7-3.4-2.7-4.01.2
Other identified debt-creating flows0.0-0.10.10.0-0.4-0.5-0.5-0.3-0.3-0.30.00.00.0
Privatization receipts (negative)0.0-0.10.10.0-0.4-0.5-0.5-0.3-0.3-0.30.00.00.0
Recognition of implicit or contingent liabilities0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Debt relief (HIPC and other)0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Other (specify, e.g. bank recapitalization)0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Residual, including asset changes36.734.130.0-4.1-4.5-21.4-4.8-5.7-6.4-7.8-3.4-1.3-3.0
NPV of public sector debt125.053.329.6115.253.951.147.644.239.858.628.327.328.8
o/w foreign-currency denominated92.39.229.287.630.831.030.029.929.239.826.022.725.6
NPV of contingent liabilities (not included in public sector debt)0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Gross financing need 2/20.622.09.014.114.814.112.910.89.812.83.36.64.3
NPV of public sector debt-to-revenue ratio (in percent)
Base is Revenues and grants 3/692.1415.5263.7608.3291.0278.9259.3241.3216.1315.8157.0152.1159.8
Base is Revenues excluding grants (as used in external DS A table)1013.4542.9328.3946.2424.3388.1349.8321.5283.6452.2197.5180.5198.0
o/w external.. .... .... ..719.2242.7235.4220.6217.3208.2307.2180.9150.3175.5
Debt service-to-revenue ratio (in percent) 4/
Base is Revenues and grants 3/27.249.522.521.119.019.317.410.913.316.810.813.910.9
Base is Revenues excluding grants (as used in external DSA table)39.964.629.332.827.626.923.514.517.523.813.616.513.5
Primary deficit that stabilizes the debt-to-GDP ratio 6/-14.87.425.332.022.240.618.116.916.524.47.32.95.9
Key macroeconomic and fiscal assumptions
Real GDP growth (in percent)7.43.813.27.27.46.56.16.16.66.65.85.15.5
Average nominal interest rate on forex debt (in percent)0.70.90.50.20.40.50.70.30.50.40.81.30.9
Average real effective interest rate on domestic currency debt (in percent) 7/-4.4-3.810.4-2.63.37.78.48.98.75.711.89.111.7
Real exchange rate depreciation (in percent, + indicates depreciation)-1.75.219.8-2.6
Inflation rate (GDP deflator, in percent)16.015.512.113.313.18.78.07.16.89.55.85.05.5
Growth of real primary spending (deflated by GDP deflator, in percent)-5.17.727.9-3.921.47.57.26.19.47.96.44.75.3
Grant element of new external borrowing (in percent)0.00.00.043.939.542.742.845.047.543.647.147.0
Sources: Country authorities; and Fund staff estimates and projections.

[Indicate coverage of public sector, e.g., general government or nonfinancial public sector. Also whether net or gross debt is used.]

Gross financing need is defined as the primary deficit plus debt service plus the stock of short-term debt at the end of the last period.

Revenues including grants.

Debt service is defined as the sum of interest and amortization of medium and long-term debt.

Historical averages and standard deviations are generally derived over the past 10 years (1995-2004), subject to data availability.

Calculated to show what is required for stablization at the level of each preceding year.

Inferred from the total stock of domestic debt including non-interest bearing asset in the BSL balance sheet.

Sources: Country authorities; and Fund staff estimates and projections.

[Indicate coverage of public sector, e.g., general government or nonfinancial public sector. Also whether net or gross debt is used.]

Gross financing need is defined as the primary deficit plus debt service plus the stock of short-term debt at the end of the last period.

Revenues including grants.

Debt service is defined as the sum of interest and amortization of medium and long-term debt.

Historical averages and standard deviations are generally derived over the past 10 years (1995-2004), subject to data availability.

Calculated to show what is required for stablization at the level of each preceding year.

Inferred from the total stock of domestic debt including non-interest bearing asset in the BSL balance sheet.

15. The NPV of debt would fall rapidly after the Completion Point and then stabilize by 2017. Table 6 shows that the NPV of debt-to-GDP ratio drops to 54 percent by 2006 and falls further to an average of 28 percent from 2015 onward. The NPV of debt-to-revenue ratio (including grants) follows a similar trend, falling to 291 percent by 2006 and further to an average of 154 percent from 2015 onward. The debt-service-to-revenue ratio (including grants) falls gradually to 14 percent in 2025 from 21 percent in 2005.

Table 6.Sierra Leone: Sensitivity Analysis for Key Indicators of Public Debt 2005-25
EstimateProjections
20052006200720082009201020152025
NPV of Debt-to-GDP Ratio
Baseline11554514844402827
A. Alternative scenarios
A1. Real GDP growth and primary balance are at historical averages11556555250473951
A2. Primary balance is unchanged from 200411754494439341815
A3. Permanently lower GDP growth 1/115545148464242101
B. Bound tests
B1. Real GDP growth is at historical average minus one standard deviations in 2006-200711563716864605579
B2. Primary balance is at historical average minus one standard deviations in 2006-200711555544843382525
B3. Combination of B1-B2 using one half standard deviation shocks11560635549422319
B4. One-time 30 percent real depreciation in 200611567716560553835
B5. 10 percent of GDP increase in other debt-creating flows in 200611559534843382524
C1. Amortization of non-interest bearing BSL asset.11554514846443945
NPV of Debt-to-Revenue Ratio 2/
Baseline608291279259241216157152
A. Alternative scenarios
A1. Real GDP growth and primary balance are at historical averages608299293278266244206265
A2. Primary balance is unchanged from 200461928926723921518410081
A3. Permanently lower GDP growth 1/608286273256242222217502
B. Bound tests
B1. Real GDP growth is at historical average minus one standard deviations in 2006-2007608322350334320298283418
B2. Primary balance is at historical average minus one standard deviations in 2006-2007608299294262237207138138
B3. Combination of B1-B2 using one half standard deviation shocks608315323286255219124103
B4. One-time 30 percent real depreciation in 2006608363390356330297210193
B5. 10 percent of GDP increase in other debt-creating flows in 2006608316288259235205136137
C1. Amortization of non-interest bearing BSL asset.608291279259254239217253
Debt Service-to-Revenue Ratio 2/
Baseline2119191711131114
A. Alternative scenarios
A1. Real GDP growth and primary balance are at historical averages2119212013161524
A2. Primary balance is unchanged from 20042120201811131112
A3. Permanently lower GDP growth 1/2119201912151533
B. Bound tests
B1. Real GDP growth is at historical average minus one standard deviations in 2006-20072121252315191830
B2. Primary balance is at historical average minus one standard deviations in 2006-20072119201912141215
B3. Combination of B1-B2 using one half standard deviation shocks2120232113161315
B4. One-time 30 percent real depreciation in 20062120212012151216
B5. 10 percent of GDP increase in other debt-creating flows in 20062119211812141215
C1. Amortization of non-interest bearing BSL asset.2119191719212027
Sources: Country authorities; and Fund staff estimates and projections

Assumes that real GDP growth is at baseline minus one standard deviation divided by the square root of 20 (i.e., the length of the projection period).

Revenues are defined inclusive of grants.

Sources: Country authorities; and Fund staff estimates and projections

Assumes that real GDP growth is at baseline minus one standard deviation divided by the square root of 20 (i.e., the length of the projection period).

Revenues are defined inclusive of grants.

16. A lower primary deficit would help reduce debt but hinder PRSP implementation. The primary deficit in 2004 was 1.2 percent of GDP, while a surplus of 1.6 percent of GDP is projected in 2005. The baseline scenario assumes a primary deficit of 1.0 percent of GDP in 2006, which would slowly rise to 2.7 percent of GDP by 2015, reflects the initial costs of PRSP implementation in a post-conflict country. After that the primary deficit would gradually fall to 2 percent of GDP by 2025. By contrast, bound test A2 (Table 6) maintains the primary deficit constant at the 2004 GDP share of 1.2 percent. As a result, the NPV of debt-to-GDP ratio falls from 54 percent of GDP in 2006 to 15 percent in 2025, compared to 27 percent in the baseline scenario. The tension between high spending requirements and debt sustainability can only be resolved through a combination of concessional borrowing, grant financing, stronger revenue effort and efficiency gains in the delivery of public services.

17. Temporary or permanently lower GDP growth represents the most significant risk to fiscal debt sustainability in Sierra Leone. Reflecting the limited room to adjust expenditures and collect additional revenue, the government would have to increase its new borrowing significantly in the face of lower GDP growth. If real GDP growth were permanently lower (by 3 percentage points below the baseline rate), then the NPV of debt-to-GDP ratio would increase to 101 percent of GDP by 2025 rather than 27 percent of GDP in the baseline scenario (see bound test A3 in Table 6). If real GDP growth were temporarily negative (-9.5 percent in 2006 and 2007), then the NPV of debt-to-GDP ratio would increase to 79 percent of GDP by 2025 (see bound test B1 in Table 6).

18. Debt service obligations resulting from half of the current domestic debt stock may be thought of as an implicit contingent liability. As of end-2005, approximately 55 percent of the domestic stock included under the fiscal baseline represents non-interest bearing, non-negotiable securities with no maturity, which the government issued to help capitalize the Bank of Sierra Leone. Currently, this loan does not represent any real fiscal burden to the government. Ultimately, the government may wish to convert the loan into a bond and start repaying it. Depending on the terms of the bond, this conversion would lead to a significant increase in the domestic debt service obligations of the government and would weaken the fiscal stance if not implemented with care.

19. The impact of converting non-interest bearing liabilities to a bond could be substantial. Table 6 illustrates one possible solution (labeled bound test C1). In this scenario, it is assumed that the current non-interest bearing liability is replaced in 2009 by a 10-year floating interest rate bond (interest rate is linked to the short-term Treasury bill rate). The additional debt service requirements are assumed to be financed by higher domestic borrowing without any compression in fiscal expenditures or increased revenue effort. As a consequence, the NPV debt-to-GDP ratio begins to rise over time and eventually reaches 45 percent of GDP by 2025, almost 18 percentage points higher than the baseline scenario. Similarly, the NPV of debt-to-revenue ratio (including grants) rises to 253 percent of GDP at the end of the projection period, 98 percentage points higher than the baseline scenario. Debt service as a share of revenues (including grants) rises to 27 percent of revenues by 2025, double the baseline scenario rate.

V. Conclusions

20. In staffs’ assessment, Sierra Leone faces a moderate risk of debt distress if HIPC and MDRI debt relief are taken into account. Under the baseline that assumes the full delivery of HIPC debt relief, three external debt indicators (NPV of debt-to-GDP, exports, and revenues) rise above the indicative debt burden thresholds in the first years but rapidly decline and improve further over the projection period. The implementation of the MDRI in connection with the HIPC completion point would improve the external debt situation of the country sufficiently to ensure all debt indicators remain below their indicative thresholds. However, several stress tests reveal that the baseline is vulnerable to a multitude of potential shocks, in particular delays in the revival of bauxite and rutile exports, the servicing of non-interest bearing obligations and lower than anticipated real GDP growth.

21. To ensure future debt sustainability a gradual reduction of the domestic debt stock is as vital as the successful fiscal adjustment programmed under the baseline. A lower domestic debt stock would lessen the liquidity and the rollover risks associated with the short maturities of this debt. In order to extend the maturity of domestic borrowing, the government should promote the development of the domestic debt market, which would also facilitate the conversion of the current non-interest bearing, non-maturing domestic debt into a longer-term security. Depending on the terms at which the government will be able to convert this liability, the debt service could rise substantially and lead to additional borrowing. In light of this, and also to avoid crowding out of the private sector, a fiscal tightening or new external borrowing could become necessary. These considerations would warrant a reassessment of Sierra Leone’s risk of debt distress at a later stage.

Figure 2.Sierra Leone: Indicators of Public Debt Under Alternative Scenarios, 2005-2025

Source: IMF and WB Staff projections and simulations.

References

    CollierP.(2000)‘Policy for Post-Conflict Societies: Reducing the Risks of Renewed Conflict’,World Bank.

    CollierP. and A.Hoeffler(2002)‘Aid, Policy and Peace: Reducing the Risks of Civil Conflict’,World Bank.

    MasonD.T.M.GursesP.Brandt and J.M.Quinn(2005)‘When and Why Civil Wars Recur: Conditions for a Durable Peace After Civil Wars?’,University of North Texas DentonTexas.

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APPENDIX V Sierra Leone: Statistical Issues

1. The prolonged civil war has resulted in serious deficiencies in the macroeconomic database, particularly in the areas of the balance of payments, national accounts, and social indicators. From the May 1997 coup to March 1998, statistical compilation virtually collapsed because of institutional damage and the departure of key skilled personnel from the administration. Since April 1998, however, the authorities have endeavored to rehabilitate the data collection and compilation systems. The authorities are cooperating fully in providing data to the Fund for the purposes of policy formulation and program monitoring. The authorities are also trying to disseminate economic and financial data to the public on a regular basis.

2. A major and sustained improvement in the coverage and timeliness of economic data will require the restructuring of the institutional framework following recommendations of the March 2004 IMF/World Bank mission on the development of a strategic plan for the statistical system. Budgetary resources remain scarce for the main statistical unit, the Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL); this situation most adversely affects the compilation of national accounts and price statistics. Cooperation and coordination between the main statistical agencies should also be improved. Sierra Leone participates in the GDDS regional project for Anglophone African countries, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DfID). The authorities have prepared an initial set of metadata that include detailed plans for improvement over the short and medium term; these were posted on the Fund’s DSBB on May 29, 2003 and updated in August 2004. Sierra Leone has received Fund technical assistance in priority areas and a request for additional assistance is expected in the context of the GDDS project.

National accounts

3. National accounts data are prepared by the SSL using data received from government ministries and agencies, public enterprises, and through small annual sample surveys of economic activity, although based on outdated lists and with extremely low response rates. Thus, the private sector has not been adequately represented in the national accounts compilations, especially small businesses, which represent a very high proportion of business activity in Sierra Leone. The consumer price index (CPI) is used extensively to derive estimates of GDP at constant prices. A project to improve the system of national income and social accounts was undertaken with Fund/United Nations Development Program (UNDP) technical support. As a result, a set of revised national accounts for the period 1986/87-1994/95 was published in December 1995. The main revisions involved the adjustment of trade figures to reflect illegal diamond mining and fishing activity. However, large adjustments were also made to the exports of nonfactor services, for which the SSL was unable to provide sufficient explanation. Data on the exports and imports of both goods and services need further improvement and efforts are ongoing to strengthen direct estimation techniques. The series were updated to 1998, followed by a break in the estimates due to disruptions in staff continuity and loss of records at SSL. An effort to reconstruct the national accounts estimates under new staff commenced during 2003/04 and is continuing, with the main effort now focusing on preparing new estimates for 2001 and beyond. Resource constraints have significantly delayed data production of firm estimates and only preliminary data for the 2001-2004 period have been made available. These are in the final stages of revision, but will be relatively weak because of the lack of adequate source data, especially for 2001 and 2002. The SSL should focus on the development of a new benchmark for the current price estimates and to rebase the constant price estimates to a new base (current base year is 1990).

4. Fund missions continue to make their own estimates and projections of key national accounts aggregates, as well as adjustments to historical data using available information.

5. Since March 2204 and with support from the GDDS Anglophone Africa Project, a national accounts expert visited Freetown five times. The last visit was in January 2006. The expert reviewed the source data, methodologies, and compilation issues and assisted with data development and improvements in methodology. The expert prepared and coordinated with the authorities on a short-term action plan that would bridge the gap to the longer-term improvements that are to be incorporated in the strategic plan. Plans are underway to prepare revised national accounts based on a 2005 benchmark and using 2005 prices to compile constant price estimates. However, shortages of resources and staff continue to pose major constraints in the crucial area of data development for economic statistics within SSL.

Prices

6. The CPI is compiled on a monthly basis by the SSL and published with a lag of about three weeks. The CPI covers the capital city and three towns. The 1992 base period was derived from a supplemental survey to the 1989/90 Household Expenditure Survey. Plans are underway to re-base the CPI to 2004; using the 2003, Sierra Leone integrated household survey and extends the geographic coverage of the CPI so that a national CPI can be compiled. SSL plans to complete this work during 2006 following the end of the field work on the ICP in June 2006. The production of producer price indices remains a medium-term goal.

Government finance statistics

7. The budget reporting system was established with technical assistance provided under the Fund/UNDP technical assistance project. Monthly data on central government revenue, current expenditure, and financing are provided, with appropriate desegregation. The European Commission (EC) is providing technical assistance to the Accountant General’s Office that will improve the timeliness and quality of fiscal data. Data on capital expenditure are poor. While Sierra Leone has reported fiscal data to AFR, it has not provided annual data for publication in the GFS Yearbook since 1999 (revenue and expense data were reported for the 2005 GFS Yearbook; however, deficiencies in the data on financial assets and liabilities precluded the publication of these data). Fiscal data only cover the budgetary central government, excluding extrabudgetary agencies and local governments.

8. There is an urgent need for greater timeliness and accuracy of data on foreign-financed development projects. Reports on the implementation of the development budget and its financing are currently not produced in a format that is suitable for budget analysis. In particular, data on implementation are missing. There is also need for assuring quality control of the final data. The authorities are currently considering the introduction of a flash reporting system for government expenditure in general- and foreign aid-financed projects. In the context of the GDDS regional project for Anglophone African countries DfID, work has been undertaken to reconcile fiscal and monetary data, and to improve the coverage and classification of these two data sets (see below). This reconciliation is a performance criterion in Sierra Leone’s PRGF program with the Fund.

Monetary statistics

9. The main components of the central bank balance sheet are available on a daily and weekly basis; this system provides an early warning system on key financial targets. The full monetary survey is prepared with a lag of about six weeks, with comprehensive coverage of commercial banks.

10. The Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) compiles monetary data using a system established by the 1996 STA mission for data reporting to AFR and STA. Most of the mission’s recommendations have been implemented, resulting in substantial improvements to the quality of the monetary data. However, commercial banks continue to distinguish between their foreign and domestic positions based only on the currency of denomination and not on residency. In addition, the April–May 2003 GDDS metadata and monetary and financial statistics mission identified that (i) the institutional coverage of monetary statistics does not include those financial corporations that accept nontransferable deposits and (ii) the BSL records the counterpart to the foreign exchange received through foreign grants and loans to the central government as foreign liabilities instead of liabilities to the central government. Some other data problems result from mispostings in the balance sheet of the BSL and misclassifications of new accounts. Also, bank reserves as reported by the BSL and commercial banks do not match. After considerable work by the authorities and commercial banks, misclassifications of government deposits have only been resolved for 2003.

11. The October 2004 mission on the reconciliation of fiscal and monetary statistics indicated that such reconciliation is very difficult due in part to (i) fiscal data compilation solely on a cash basis, and (ii) incomplete definition of the central government. Even though the authorities undertook an exercise in 2003 to identify government accounts in the banking system, the review of the list of government agencies revealed significant shortcomings. The mission recommended that the authorities develop a reliable definition of the central government for statistical purposes.

Balance of payments statistics

12. The BSL is responsible for the compilation of the balance of payments. The BSL obtains the data for the balance of payments estimates from various sources including the SSL, government ministries, the Customs and Excise Department (Customs), and the “Financial Survey of Major Limited Companies,” for data on foreign direct investment. Goods estimates are based on the import and export data compiled by Customs and are adjusted for coverage, valuation, and timing to fit balance of payments definitions. However, the BSL does not make adjustments to BOP data using supplementary information to take account of unreported data.

13. External transactions are characterized by a large volume of activity in the informal sector, principally the smuggling of diamonds. A considerable portion of imports is financed by these unrecorded exports. As a result, official balance of payments statistics tend to substantially understate transactions. The staff has been addressing this problem through the use of third-country (principally EC member) import data. The Fund’s Statistics Department (STA) has been providing technical assistance on BOP issues under the GDDS project to help the authorities with the implementation of the Balance of Payments Manual, Fifth Edition (BPM5)—the most recent technical assistance mission took place in September/October 2004.

14. Outstanding data problems exist for trade in services, income statistics, current transfers, and in the financial and capital accounts. Regarding the latter, there are, in principle, substantial difficulties in tracking financial transactions of the public and private sectors that are not routed through the central bank but through commercial banks. While the authorities are able to report accurately what public sector debt service payments are after debt relief, they have difficulty in estimating debt service due before debt relief. These difficulties are manifested in reconciling flow data in the balance of payments and stocks in the international investment position. In particular, the impact of external debt relief on the international investment position is not recorded correctly. Estimates of smuggled imports and exports, in particular diamonds, are also not available.

15. Against this background, information on official program grant and loan receipts is relatively good and is prepared by the staff on the basis of contact with the authorities and donor agencies. In contrast, data on private capital flows are very poor. Some information on private banking flows can be derived from the monetary survey. Other private capital flows, especially those linked to the informal diamond trade, are effectively captured only in “Errors and omissions.” Data on the gross and net official reserves positions of the BSL are provided monthly to the Fund with a short lag. STA is in contact with the authorities in an effort to reconcile balance of payments flow data with stock data in the international investment position.

Sierra Leone: Table of Common Indicators Required for Surveillance(As of February 1, 2006)
Date of latest

observation
Date

received
Frequency

of

Data6
Frequency

of

Reporting6
Frequency

of

publication6
Exchange Rates3/054/05DWW
International Reserve Assets and Reserve Liabilities of the Monetary Authorities18/049/04M7MW
Reserve/Base Money12/051/06M8MM
Broad Money12/051/06M7MM
Central Bank Balance Sheet12/051/06MMM
Consolidated Balance Sheet of the Banking System12/051/06MMM
Interest Rates22/053/06WMW
Consumer Price Index10/0512/05MMM
Revenue, Expenditure, Balance and Composition of Financing3 – General Government412/042/05MMN/A
Revenue, Expenditure, Balance and Composition of Financing3 – Central Government12/042/05MMN/A
Stocks of Central Government and Central Government-Guaranteed Debt512/042/05MMN/A
External Current Account Balance20049/05AVA
Exports and Imports of Goods and Services20049/05MMM
GDP/GNP20037/04AVA
Gross External Debt2004 Q17/04MMM
Sources: The World Bank; and Fund staff estimates.

Includes reserve assets pledged or otherwise encumbered as well as net derivative positions.

Both market-based and officially determined, including discounts rates, money market rates, rates on treasury bills, notes and bonds.

Foreign, domestic bank, and domestic nonbank financing.

The general government consists of the central government (budgetary funds, extra budgetary funds, and social security funds) and state and local governments.

Including currency and maturity composition.

Daily (D), Weekly (W), Monthly (M), Quarterly (Q), Annually (A); Irregular (I); Not Available (NA)

Weekly estimates provided in Bank of Sierra Leone’s “Daily Indicators”

Daily estimates provided in Bank of Sierra Leone’s “Daily Indicators”

Sources: The World Bank; and Fund staff estimates.

Includes reserve assets pledged or otherwise encumbered as well as net derivative positions.

Both market-based and officially determined, including discounts rates, money market rates, rates on treasury bills, notes and bonds.

Foreign, domestic bank, and domestic nonbank financing.

The general government consists of the central government (budgetary funds, extra budgetary funds, and social security funds) and state and local governments.

Including currency and maturity composition.

Daily (D), Weekly (W), Monthly (M), Quarterly (Q), Annually (A); Irregular (I); Not Available (NA)

Weekly estimates provided in Bank of Sierra Leone’s “Daily Indicators”

Daily estimates provided in Bank of Sierra Leone’s “Daily Indicators”

1The sixth and final review was completed on June 1, 2005, and the resources under the PRGF arrangement were fully disbursed (IMF Country Report No. 05/194). The arrangement was approved on September 26, 2001, in the amount of SDR 130.84 million (126 percent of quota), and was extended twice, by a total of nine months. Fund credit outstanding as of end-December 2005 is SDR 134.4 million (130 percent of quota).
2See IMF Country Report No. 05/195.
3Refer to the Letter of Intent, Memorandum of Economic Policies and the Technical Memorandum of Understanding dated June 21, 2001.
4See IMF Country Report No. 05/192 for further discussion on Sierra Leone’s performance during this period.
5Year-on-year inflation in November was 12.3 percent, down from its peak of 15.9 percent in September.
6For example, higher fuel prices have constrained the transport of commodities to markets, resulting in pricing pressures. This has been especially the case for rice, fish, and sweet potatoes. Furthermore, agricultural products are traded across Guinea and Liberia borders, which affects the supply situation on the local food markets.
7The DfID disbursed £5 million (announced at the Consultative Group meeting in London in November). This is additional to what was initially budgeted and offset the disbursement of SDR 5.33 million from AfDB, postponed to early January 2006. The EU also disbursed € 17.5 million in December 2005, which exceeded the budgeted € 15 million.
8Domestic savings and investment rates were estimated at –5 and 10% percent of GDP in 2004.
9Sierra Leone ratified the agreement on the certification of the origin of diamond exports in May 2004 (the Kimberley process), which is aimed at facilitating the tracking of diamonds from the origin of production. Sierra Leone is in compliance with the Kimberley process and the implementation of the cadastral system for artisanal mining would strengthen the tracking of small-scale diamond exports. In 2005 the government expressed interest in participating in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), and a joint mission from the World Bank and the DfID is planned for early 2006 to explore Sierra Leone’s participation in the initiative.
10However, this would still leave that share below the average for HIPC countries and hence further efforts will be necessary (including a successful implementation of VAT) to boost domestic revenue collection, which would also reduce dependency on donor financing. The average revenue collection for HIPC completion point countries, excluding grants, is about 15½-16 percent of GDP.
11For example, in January 2005 the wage bill was raised substantially after the presentation of the budget in parliament due to concessions to labor unions following a two-day general strike.
12Domestic payments arrears totaled about 1.5 percent of GDP at end-2004.
13At present, BSL uses reserve money as the primary intermediate monetary policy target. The main policy instrument is the auctions of treasury bills and bearer bonds. In addition, the BSL imposes reserve requirements on domestic currency deposits held with commercial banks.
14The BSL is planning to establish a liquidity-forecasting framework and to begin secondary market trading of treasury bills, with technical assistance from the Fund.
15Projections in the DSA exercise run up to 2025.
16External debt-to-GDP and debt-to-exports ratios are projected to stabilize at about 25 and 80 percent, respectively.
17The baseline scenario is consistent with stable domestic and external debt projections. Substantial vulnerabilities arise when the fiscal debt sustainability scenario is subjected to stress testing.
18External grants and loans (including HIPC resources) in 2006 would represent about 40 percent of the budgeted resources (about 8 percent of GDP).
19Under the PRGF-supported program the government can borrow 50 percent of the shortfall in programmed external budget support.
20The 2005 budget comprised a general salary increase of 4.5 percent. Average inflation in 2005 is envisioned at 12.5 percent and in 2006 only slightly lower.
21Japan has yet to sign a bilateral rescheduling agreement with Sierra Leone. Negotiations with China on debt rescheduling have started.
22The staffs of the World Bank and the Fund issued a Joint Staff Advisory Note (JSAN) on the full PRSP, which was considered by the IMF Executive Board in June 2005 (IMF Country Report No. 05/193).
23See further discussion in paragraph 29.
24Sierra Leone’s quota is SDR103.7 million. Disbursements under this scenario are shown in Table 9.
25The projected debt service to the Fund (including HIPC assistance) during 2006–08 would amount to 21.55 percent of Sierra Leone’s quota.
26An estimated 80 percent of the population is living in poverty (below the national poverty line of about US$1 per day).
27Customs duty collections were lower than envisioned reflecting in part reduced volumes of dutiable imports, a shift in the composition of imports towards lower tariff goods, the impact of the implementation of the Common External Tariff, and higher administrative charges at the ports, which encouraged trade diversion to the neighboring countries.
28Two Fund technical assistance missions, covering tax administration and mineral sector regulations, have been scheduled for early 2006.
29These are the AfDB, DfID, EU, and the World Bank.
30At the rate of 1.25 percent of the c.i.f. value of goods.
31Poverty-related outlays are projected to rise by about 1 percent of GDP in 2006.
32Predictable resources are defined as domestic revenues, domestic borrowing, HIPC grants, and one-half of foreign program support.
33These include Kredit Anstalt fur Wiederaufbau, Germany; the United National Capital Development Fund (UNCDF); the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); and the Microfinance Investment and Technical Assistance Facility (MITAF).
34The IF is a multi-agency multi-donor program aimed at coordinating technical assistance to the least developed countries (LDC) to assist them in enhancing their trade opportunities and integrate them into regional and global economies.
35The main areas for structural reforms in the medium-term are illustrated in Table 3.
36External budgetary assistance is defined as program grants and program loans, but excluding external financing for the Disarmamanent, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Program, and project-related grants and loans. The leone value of the cumulative shortfall (excess) of external budgetary assistance will be calculated at the program exchange rates.
37Debt is considered concessional if it has a grant element equivalent to 35 percent or more. Calculation of the degree of concessionality of new external borrowing is based on the last 10-year average commercial interest reference rate (CIRR) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for loans with maturities of at least 15 years and on the last six-month average CIRR for loans maturiting in less than 15 years.
38Net present value (NPV) terms at the decision point under the enhanced framework.
39The African Development Bank (AfDB), the IMF, and the World Bank.
40Interim relief by AfDB lapsed at end-2004. This was due to an exhaustion of the HIPC Trust Fund. The trust fund was replenished in 2005, which allowed the resumption of interim debt relief.
41China cancelled all disbursed outstanding debt that had matured in 1999 under a special Chinese Initiative. Similarly in 2004, Morocco cancelled the entire outstanding debt amounting to US$10 million.
42The DSA assumes that a buy-back will take place at the beginning of 2007.
43At the Decision Point, commercial debt (entirely in arrears) was estimated at US$85.6 million. As of end-2004, the stock of commercial arrears is estimated at US$251 million.
44In addition, the government has accumulated arrears owed to private suppliers and utility companies. These totaled US$ 15.9 million (1.5 percent of GDP) at end-2004.
45The baseline scenario assumes the continuity of the status quo, that is, no interest will be accumulated on this debt.
46If a country’s debt is heavily concentrated in short-term maturities of less than one year, the government is exposed to a “bunching problem,” with a high volume of obligations maturing on certain dates that may all have to be refinanced at the same time.
47See Operational Framework for Debt Sustainability Assessments in Low-Income Countries—Further Considerations. The new framework introduces some methodological change in the calculation of the NPV of debt compared to the HIPC methodology by using (a) a fixed 5 percent discount rate instead of currency specific discount rates (under HIPC), (b) WEO exchange rate projections instead of fixed exchange rates as of end of the base date, and (c) annual exports instead of a three-year average of exports as the denominator in the NPV of debt-to-exports ratio.
48The NPV of external debt-to-revenue ratio excludes all grants. By contrast, the revenue ratios quoted in the fiscal analysis in Section IV below assume the inclusion of grants.
49The documentation for the DSF is clear that the stress tests do not allow for internal and external adjustment in response to shocks. The implication is that the tests could over-state the consequences of the shocks.
50Under the historical scenario key variables (real GDP growth, the GDP deflator, the non-interest current account balance and net foreign investment) are held at historical levels for the period 1995-2004.
51Empirical studies such as Collier (2000) have shown that the probability of a conflict resuming decreases over time. Other studies such as Collier and Hoeffler (2002) and Mason et al (2005) also show that the probability of a conflict being restarted is strongly reduced by external aid and the prolonged presence of peace-keepers, as was the case for Sierra Leone between 2002 and 2005.

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