Donor thumbs down on Kroll audit tightens the screws - By Joseph Hanlon
The International Monetary Fund’s Mozambique representative says there is a possibility of initiating a programme with Mozambique in 2018, but that the IMF is waiting for criminal charges in the hidden debt scandal to be brought.
“The IMF has never said that there would be no programme in 2018, nor did it say that it had abandoned Mozambique,” Aisen said, clarifying statements made by fund leaders during the annual meetings held in Washington in October.
The representative was speaking at the Financial Times investment and business summit in Maputo last week.
“We have a good relationship, but having a financial programme now is not possible,” he said, while adding there should be “consultations under Article IV of the IMF charter” involving both parties later this month.
Article IV provides for annual consultations with member countries, in which assessments of macroeconomic performance are made.
In early 2018, after the conclusions of the meetings were referred to the IMF, the situation could be revised, “depending on the response to the information gaps” in the audit on hidden debts.
“After that, maybe we can resume negotiations.”
The IMF and most of the traditional donors to Mozambique’s state budget suspended aid in 2016 after the disclosure of the ‘hidden debts’ amounting to two thousand million dollars assumed with state guarantees.
Partial audit results were released in June indicating irregularities and a lack of information from state-owned companies, and the matter has been stalled since.
“The government can contribute by assuming a position of potential use of some resources in a structured, cohesive and coherent way, [a position which we] can take to our constituents in Washington, and so on,” Aisen said.
Asked whether it would be necessary for heads to roll in the matter of accountability, said that that was a sovereign matter in which the fund did not interfere.
“Our issue is really lack of transparency,” he said.
“There are ongoing investigations, the conclusion of which we await.” As for possible charges “we presume there will be, because President Nyusi said there is clear indication that there was criminal activity associated with this scandal”.
Like other donors interviewed by Lusa in recent months, Aisen said that signing a financial programme with the IMF would give Mozambique credibility.Source: Lusa