Friday, June 20, 2014 6:57 pm
By Azubuike Okeh
Abidjan – The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved the sum of 13.4 million dollars to support economic programmes in Sierra Leone.
This is contained in IMF review report of Sierra Leone’s performance under its Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement programme.
The report stated that the approval brought the total disbursements to Sierra Leone under the ECF arrangement to 27.4 million dollars.
“Sierra Leone’s economic growth momentum continued in 2013 with output expanding by 20 per cent due to new iron ore production and strong growth in agriculture and the services sector.
“Inflation declined to single digits, mainly reflecting increased food supply. The surge in iron ore exports contributed to the improvement in the external and fiscal positions,” the report said.
The report said that real GDP growth was projected to remain in double digits at 11.3 per cent in 2014, following expected higher iron ore and other mining production.
“The GDP projection is also as a result of continued strong output expansion in agriculture, services, construction and as a recovery in manufacturing,” it said.
The report called on the authorities to scale-up public investment as envisaged in the implementation of the country’s poverty reduction strategy, the Agenda for Prosperity (AfP).
It said that such step would catalyse private sector activity and contribute to higher and sustainable growth in the non-resources sector.
“Consumer price inflation is expected to continue trending downward as food supply benefits from government-sponsored programmes in agriculture.
“Non-food inflation will remain moderate due to continued prudent monetary policy,” it noted.
The report further said that improving trade balance coupled with expected capital inflows would strengthen the external position and gross international reserves buildup.