Via IMF (Den Internationale Valutafond)

End-of-Mission press releases include statements of IMF staff teams that convey preliminary findings after a visit to a country. The views expressed in this statement are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF’s Executive Board. Based on the preliminary findings of this mission, staff will prepare a report that, subject to management approval, will be presented to the IMF’s Executive Board for discussion and decision.

Press Release no 17/18).

At the end of the visit, Mr. Klingen issued the following statement:

“The Nigerien authorities and the IMF team reached staff-level agreement
for the completion of the fifth review of the ECF-supported program. It
could be considered by the Executive Board of the IMF in early-January

“The government of Niger remains strongly committed to the reforms in its
PDES 2017-2021, supported by the ECF arrangement. It is making commendable
reform efforts, implementing its program with the IMF in a satisfactory

“Macroeconomic stability remains firmly in place on the back of prudent
fiscal policy and solid growth. Economic activity is benefitting from the
government’s success in attracting foreign investors and the scaling-up of
donor support, as well as favorable harvests, despite a tense security
situation and the closure of the border with Nigeria. Growth should reach
6.3 percent this year and average more than 7 percent over the next five
years. The construction of the pipeline for crude oil and the expected
onset of oil exports in 2022 are an important boon for the economy. The
mission will continue to work closely with the authorities with a view to
devising policies that maximize the benefits from the large-scale projects
for the Nigerien economy.

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“The fiscal situation remains broadly satisfactory, with the overall
deficit on track to improve this year and comply with the WAEMU deficit
ceiling of 3 percent of GDP in 2020. While revenue mobilization remains an
uphill battle, especially considering the Nigeria border closure, the
government’s unrelenting reform efforts and prudent expenditure management
keep public finances solid. The 2020 budget marks an important step toward
generating fiscal space for priority expenditures. High quality and
transparency in public spending remains imperative to make the best of
limited resources.

“The IMF team congratulates the authorities on securing the construction of
a pipeline for the export of crude oil and the associated oil field
development. Fiscal revenues should rise by at least 2 percent of GDP from
2022 and local suppliers and employees of oil-related activity should
benefit as well. It will now be important to carefully design the contracts
and institutional arrangements governing the petroleum sector to make
Niger’s impending oil exporter status an unqualified success.

“Persistently seeking to improve conditions for the formal local private
sector is critical, not least to allow it to benefit fully from the
dynamism surrounding the large-scale projects. In this context, the
government’s efforts to improve the readings of business environment
indicators is commendable. Improving access to financing is rightly high on
the agenda. Formalizing the informal sector simultaneously levels the
playing field and spreads the tax burden more widely. The mission welcomes
ongoing efforts to improve governance, including the strengthening of
HALCIA, the application to rejoin the EITI, and plans to upgrade the asset
declaration regime for high-ranking public officials.

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“The team met with the Prime Minister Brigi Rafini, Minister of State for
Petroleum, the Ministers of Finance and Justice, the Minister Delegate for
the Budget, the Special Presidential Advisor in charge of the business
environment, as well as other senior government officials. Staff also
exchanged views with representatives of the private sector and the donor

The IMF team would like to thank the authorities for their hospitality and
for the fruitful dialogue.