IMF grants more funds to Sao Tome, but criticizes record on poverty combat

19 January 2007

Washington, United States, 19 Jan – The International Monetary Fund has criticised the government of Sao Tome and Principe for not channelling sufficient funds to fight poverty, but said it was satisfied with progress in implementing structural reforms.

In a statement issued Thursday, the IMF said it was granting a further US$ 600,000 to Sao Tome as part of a three-year poverty reduction and economic growth program, approved in August, 2005 and worth a total US$ 4.26 million.

IMF Deputy-Director Murilo Portugal said that Sao Tome has demonstrated “strong renewed effort” to apply reforms to respond “adequately” to “financial sliding” and to implement “strong progress in structural reforms in the support of development and the reduction of poverty.”

“The corrective measures that the authorities have generally applied put the reform program on the right path”, said the IMF official, making particular reference to progress in tax collection and controlling expenditure.

“With this goal the authorities will focus on reducing non-essential costs and applying fiscal reforms”, said the IMF statement.

Structural reforms in Sao Tome are “proceeding well, especially with steps taken to reinforce administration of state finances, creating the foundations for fiscal reforms and boosting the overseeing of the financial sector”, the IMF statement concluded. (macauhub)