São Tomé and Príncipe needs to collect more revenue and streamline expenses

São Tomé and Príncipe needs to improve revenue collection and reduce spending, the head of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission said at the end of the first working meeting with the country’s finance minister and other ministry officials.

Xiangming Li, quoted by the STP-Press news agency, said that “in terms of revenues the system needs to be improved and made fairer so that everyone pays fairly for what they have to pay,” and that in terms of expenditure they need to be streamlined so that the execution of the state budget is no longer a deficit generator.

“There are two other areas that greatly affect the budget,” said the IMF mission chief, who cited water and power company EMAE as well as subsidies for fuel purchases from Angolan oil company Sonangol.

“The losses that have been building up [at EMAE] are very negative for São Tomé and Principe,” said Xiangming Li, adding that “another issue is the fuel subsidy, and its existence implies a continued increase of cost of living.”

São Tomé’s Minister for Planning, Finance and the Blue Economy Osvaldo Vaz recently stated that “the country’s economic and financial situation is very bad,” and said at the time that in terms of domestic debt alone the “São Tomé state owes Sonangol about US$150 million, which is equivalent to the State Budget.” (Macauhub)