The public debt of São Tomé and Príncipé out of control – IMF

The public debt of São Tomé and Principe is “virtually uncontrolled” and “has reached a point so serious” that “very difficult measures” must be urgently implemented to control it, the representative of the International Monetary Fund stated on Thursday.

Xiangming Li had earlier met with Prime Minister Jorge Bom Jesus in São Tomé to discuss matters concerning women and “major challenges confronting the country,” namely the debt situation, reports Lusa news agency.

The government of São Tomé and Principe has various solutions for reining in government debt, the IMF representative said. The first is to increase revenue to cover spending; another is to end subsidies for fuel prices and for the state-controlled EMAE water and electric power utility.

Last May, after talks between delegations from Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe, it was made public that the island country owes more than US$187 million to Angola for fuel supplies alone.

Nearly four months ago the IMF proposed to the government of São Tomé and Principe a set of measures as a condition for signing a new credit facility worth US$6 million.

Xiangming Li stated on Thursday that the new support programme depends on implementation of the steps needed to better control both spending and revenues, and on resolution of the question of EMAE’s debt and an end to fuel subsidies. (Macauhub)