By the Caribbean Journal staff
Haiti’s gross domestic product grew by around 4 percent in the 2013 fiscal year, according to preliminary data from the International Monetary Fund.
That number was better than had recently been projected. In June, the IMF lowered its growth forecast for the country to 3.4 percent, down from an initial projection of 6.5 percent.
The country’s growth was the result of ongoing reconstruction spending, increased textile exports and a better-than-expected outcome for agriculture, according to the fund, which completed a mission to the country last month to complete a review under its Extended Credit Facility arrangement.
Inflation finished at 4.5 percent for the fiscal year, which ended in September, after spiking to nearly 7 percent following last year’s drought and hurricanes in the country.
Haiti’s fiscal deficit was “larger than programmed,” however, the fund said, due to higher transfers to the country’s EDH utility.
“The mission and the Haitian authorities discussed a number of risks surrounding these projections, and the mission recommended that buffers – in the form of government deposits at the banking system – be kept at levels sufficient to allow intervention should weather-related or other risks materialize,” said Gabriel Di Bella, who led the IMF mission.”The mission also emphasized that efforts should be strengthened to combat tax evasion, so as to ensure more robust revenue collection, which is essential to offset gradual declines in foreign assistance.”