PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Friday March 8, 2019 – A two-week visit by an International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation to Haiti ended today with an announcement that the impoverished country could get US$229 million from the Washington-based financial institution to help it out of its economic woes.
Head of the mission, Chris Walker said in a statement released today that the three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF)—which allows lending at concessional rates and is aimed at stabilizing Haiti’s economy by putting its budget deficit on a downward trajectory and managing its debt while protecting the poorest in the country—was negotiated with the Government and the country’s Central Bank.
The zero per cent interest rate loan—once it receives approval from the IMF Board which is expected to meet to consider Haiti’s request in coming weeks—will be paid over three years in return for reaching agreed goals.
The IMF team had been in Haiti from February 25, in response to a request from the Haitian authorities, to discuss IMF support for measures to ease poverty, encourage good governance, raise growth and stabilize the country’s economic situation.
“The agreement we have reached is aimed at helping Haiti overcome its current fragile state, and alleviating the hardship of the most vulnerable,” Walker said. “We have placed social protection firmly at the centre of the accord, and once the agreed measures are successfully implemented, the poorest in Haiti will be among the first to benefit in a tangible way. The program provides money for a variety of social protection measures ranging from school feeding, through targeted cash transfers, to money for social housing.”
The IMF official said priority has also been given to the fight against corruption and improvements in governance.
“The IMF backs the government’s aim of state reform. In its agreement, it has drawn up measurable targets to boost this fight with the goal of injecting greater transparency into the management of public finances, tax and revenue administration, as well as expenditure control,” he said.
The IMF delegation’s visit also encompassed the IMF’s Article IV consultation, its regular check of the health of the country’s economy.
Real growth remains near its four-year average of 1.5 per cent.
The country has been facing severe financing constraints while political turbulence has discouraged private investment and limited action on needed fiscal reform, Walker said.
“Under the programme, we expect that financial constraints will be relaxed, allowing for faster growth. We at the IMF are ready to partner with Haiti on its economic revitalization. We will also encourage other multilateral agencies and countries to support the country. We have talked to partner agencies and they are willing to help. It would also be very helpful for Haiti’s bilateral partners to step forward at this critical time,” he added.