Editorial: Liberia Enters COVID-19 Recovery As State Of Emergency Ends On June 9
AS THE GOVERNMENT of President George Manneh Weah ends the state of emergency on June 9, 2020, the nation enters COVID-19 recovery: the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved the disbursement of SDR 36.2 million, or US$50 million or 14 percent of Liberia’s quota to the IMF, under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) to help Liberia address the emergency financing needs stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
THE DIRECTORS OF the IMF, in approving disbursement, noted that the pandemic poses significant risks to the nation’s population and threatens to derail its reform path. They underscored the need for the accountable and transparent use of COVID-19 related funds to ensure that much-needed relief reaches the targeted population and help strengthen donor confidence. They welcomed Liberia’s strong commitment to macroeconomic and institutional reform, especially its commitment to reforms under the External Credit Facility, which was approved by the Board of the IMF on 11 December 2019.
THE IMF DIRECTORS welcomed government’s recent decision to publish weekly spending reports and procurement contracts and subsequently audit those expenses. They recognized that the Liberian authorities have made significant strides to strengthen public financial management, and urged authorities to resume the reform agenda, under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement, once the pandemic abates.
THE ECF IS critical to restoring macroeconomic stability and durable growth, as the Directors of the IMF have observed. They welcomed the commitment of authorities of the George Weah government to fiscal consolidation, including domestic revenue mobilization and expenditure re-prioritization. In this vein, they took positive note of the recent passage of instruments to increase excise on fuel as well as well as the authorities’ commitment to centralize revenues accruing to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) into the consolidated revenue account.
THE IMF DIRECTORS welcomed the swift and decisive measures adopted by the authorities to assuage the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including to increase resource allocation for food security and protection of vulnerable market women and petty traders.