International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff Concludes Visit to Uganda

A delay in oil sector investments could weigh on economic growth which is currently trending at 6 percent; The government needs to identify concrete measures to offset revenue shortfalls in this year's budget to safeguard its fiscal targets and prevent domestic arrears; The financial sector remains healthy, reinforced by Bank of Uganda's strong supervision.

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Mr. Axel Schimmelpfennig, visited Kampala from September 30 to October 4, 2019 to discuss Uganda's economic outlook and the direction of macroeconomic policies.

At the conclusion of the mission, Mr. Schimmelpfennig issued the following statement:

Growth could remain at around 6 percent in 2019/20, if oil investments are not significantly delayed. The current account deficit widened to 11 percent of GDP in 2018/19 largely due to investment-related imports. The Ugandan shilling has remained broadly stable.

After last year's strong performance in domestic revenue collection, execution of the current budget (fiscal year 2019/20) is challenging. Delays in the implementation of some revenue measures and shortfalls in non-tax revenues are likely to widen the overall fiscal deficit. The authorities need to adopt measures of around 1 percent of GDP to safeguard their budget targets and prevent a recurrence of domestic arrears.

The government's medium-term fiscal policy framework rests on the assumptions that oil sector investments proceed as planned, implementation of the domestic revenue mobilization strategy yields frac12; percent of GDP in additional revenue collection per year, and the government achieves improvements in public investment management, in particular in project selection, planning, and execution, to ensure that infrastructure investment yields the envisaged growth dividend.

Bank of Uganda's October 7 decision to lower its policy rate by 100 basis points to 9 percent was appropriate, with core inflation at 2.5 percent year-on-year in September and projected to stay below 5 percent over the next 12�18 months. The financial sector remains healthy based on the latest reported financial soundness indicators. The regulatory framework and Bank of Uganda's strong supervision have been instrumental in this regard.

On the sidelines of the visit, the African Development Bank, the Government of Uganda, and the IMF co-organized a workshop to discuss balancing infrastructure and human capital investments. Participants agreed that achieving sustained high and inclusive growth will require a mix of physical and human capital investment that complement each other. In addition, allocating more resources to maintenance is essential to maximizing the return on infrastructure investment.

The mission team thanks the authorities for the productive discussions.rdquo;

The IMF mission met with Governor Tumusiime-Mutebile, Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury Muhakanizi, senior government officials, and private sector representatives.

Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF).


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