The Ugandan economy continues to perform well with growth expected to reach 6 percent in financial year 2019/20 a minor slowdown from the earlier projection of 6.3 percent, indicates the international monetary fund (IMF).
Recently an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Ms. Clara Mira, visited Kampala from January 20 to 24, 2020 to discuss Uganda’s economic outlook, the budget for FY2020/21, and the direction of monetary policy.
The IMF mission met with Governor Tumusiime-Mutebile, Permanents Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury Muhakanizi, senior government officials, and private sector representatives.
According to IMF, the Bank of Uganda (BoU) monetary policy remains accommodative and the current account deficit widened to 9.7 percent of GDP in FY2018/19, largely due to private sector-related imports financed by foreign direct investments (FDI).
The re-basing of the GDP points to an increase in the size of the economy by 11.6 percent. Annual headline and core inflation were 3.4 and 3 percent, respectively and are projected to stay below 5 percent over the next 12–18 months.
“The Ugandan shilling has remained broadly stable. Overall, the banking sector remains healthy. Downside risks have increased linked to uncertainty related to oil production, the electoral period, and the complex external context.” The funds notes
The execution of the current budget continues to be challenging among revenue and financing shortfalls and large expenditure pressures, which have resulted in a supplementary budget and increased borrowing needs. The authorities have negotiated two commercial loans to address such needs.
The IMF noted implementation of the externally financed capital investment projects has lagged behind, underlying the need to continue efforts to strengthen public investment management. The team discussed with the authority’s potential revenue measures and the need to carefully prioritize and contain expenditure pressures, while protecting social spending.
Regarding the preparation of the 2020/21 budget, the team encouraged the authorities to prioritize the implementation of the new Domestic Revenue Mobilization strategy, targeting an increase in the tax-to-GDP ratio by O.5 percent per year.
Similarly, the large expenditure pressures should be carefully prioritized. Overall, the team encouraged the authorities to ensure that the budget is realistic, remains consistent with debt sustainability while avoiding exacerbating debt vulnerabilities, and is consistent with available domestic financing. It is also essential that the capital position of the central bank is strengthened to ensure that the BoU can continue pursuing its operations efficiently.
The mission team lauded the authorities for the productive and cooperative discussions.