The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a disbursement of US$101.96 million (K76.5 billion) to Malawi to help close the immediate additional external and fiscal financing gaps.
This is the second emergency disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic following another one in May.
According to IMF, Malawi’s economic outlook has worsened with the accelerated spread of the pandemic in the country and the deteriorating global and regional economic situation hence external financing needs have substantially increased.
The fiscal situation has also deteriorated with revenue losses and channeling of budget resources toward critical spending, including to support incomes and food security of the most vulnerable and increased health sector outlays—in line with Malawi’s national response plan supported by the World Health Organization and other development partners.
IMF hopes the funds will help fill part of the external financing gap and catalyze other concessional financing.
Following the Executive Board’s decision to approve the funding, IMF Deputy Managing Director and Chair Mr. Tao Zhang said further concessional assistance from the international community will be critical to close the remaining external financing gaps during 2020 and 2021 and help ease the adverse economic and social impacts of the pandemic, while preserving Malawi’s hard-earned macroeconomic stability.
“A widening of the budget deficit is appropriate in the near term, given the fiscal costs associated with the economic slowdown and critical pandemic-related spending, which should be executed transparently and targeted at the most affected segments of society. To safeguard medium-term debt sustainability and fiscal space for development initiatives, it will be important to formulate medium-term measures now—such as policies that strengthen debt management and boost domestic revenue mobilization—and implement them once the pandemic abates,” he said.
He noted that the authorities in Malawi are actively implementing measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and preserve macroeconomic stability.
According to Zhang, key steps include strengthening the health care system, stepping up social spending, ensuring food security, and easing liquidity constraints in the banking system.
“The authorities are committed to preserving macroeconomic stability, pursuing reforms in support of higher, more resilient, and broad-based medium-term growth, and improving governance. They have expressed their strong interest in a new Extended Credit Facility arrangement that is aligned with the long-term growth strategy currently under development.”