In a landmark decision on November 20, 2023, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) officially greenlit the eighth and conclusive review of Sierra Leone’s performance under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) program. This momentous approval triggers the immediate disbursement of a substantial $20.7 million.
This critical milestone, achieved through collaboration between Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Sierra Leone, and the National Revenue Authority, marks the successful conclusion of a comprehensive 43-month ECF Arrangement. Initially sanctioned on November 30, 2018, for approximately $172.1 million (equivalent to 60% of Sierra Leone’s quota), the program underwent extensions on July 27, 2021, and June 5, 2023, totaling 12 additional months.
The ECF program aimed at addressing inflation, enhancing revenue mobilization, ensuring prudent spending aligned with debt sustainability, safeguarding financial stability, and fortifying resilience against external shocks.
Mr. Bo Li, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, emphasized the challenges posed by successive shocks and policy slippages, contributing to macroeconomic imbalances and a significant cost-of-living crisis, particularly affecting the vulnerable population.
While acknowledging the bold measures taken by Sierra Leone’s authorities, Mr. Li underscored the need for continued reform momentum.
In response, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance, Sheku Ahmed Fantamadi Bangura, expressed gratitude to the IMF’s Board and Staff.
He reiterated the government’s unwavering commitment to implementing agreed reforms in collaboration with development partners. This includes initiatives focused on fiscal consolidation and prudent debt management.
Minister Bangura highlighted the complementary efforts of the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) to adopt a proactive monetary policy stance. This strategic approach aims to lower inflation, stabilize the exchange rate, and bolster international reserves.
The combined impact of these measures is expected to promote macroeconomic and financial stability, laying the groundwork for inclusive green and sustainable growth.
Looking ahead, Sierra Leone anticipates further engagements with the IMF on the successor program, emphasizing the nation’s dedication to ongoing reforms and sustainable economic development.