IMF and World Bank call on Guinea Bissau to reform public administration

26 May 2006

Bissau, Guinea Bissau, 26 May – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are putting pressure on Guinea Bissau to urgently reform its public administration in order to limit the budget deficit, the Africa Monitor newsletter reported.

Amongst the proposed reforms are the reduction of state workers by, at least 1,500, as well as restructuring careers and introducing efficiency criteria to the functioning of state institutions.

The newsletter, which is published in Lisbon, added that both the IMF and the World Bank had recently met with the Guinean government and emphasized the need to improve the way the country’s judicial and fiscal systems work, in order to attract foreign investment.

The institutions have also called for the number of permanent armed forces staff to half of their current number, or 5,000 people.

Expenditure accounted for by pubic workers’ salaries more than doubled between 1998 and last year and is the principal cause for Guinea Bissau’s budget deficit.

A high level of public expenditure has led to budget constraints, which several times in the last few years have prevented salary payments to state workers, namely teachers.

According to Africa Monitor, the IMF approved the general outline of the budget drawn up by the new Guinean government for next year, despite the document predicting a high deficit, in order to encourage the execution of the recommended reforms.

If the recommendations are followed, Guinea Bissau’s relationship with the IMF and the World Bank will be re-started, possibly through the country committing to a debt reduction program. (macauhub)