Above: Port-au-Prince (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Preliminary data suggests that economic activity in Haiti has advanced in line with projections, the International Monetary Fund said this week following its staff visit to the country.
Data from the first half of the 2014 fiscal year point to a pace of between 3 and 4 percent GDP growth this year, the fund said.
That comes after Haiti’s economy grew by an estimated 4 percent in 2013, according to a report by the IMF last December.
Inflation has remained low, and is projected to fall to the mid-single digits by the end of the fiscal year in September.
“The fiscal deficit was lower than programmed, largely due to delays in approving the budget, while domestic revenues have been close to projections,” said the IMF’s Gabriel Di Bella, who led the mission to Haiti. “Monetary policy was adequately geared towards protecting reserves while ensuring a low and stable inflation.”
Di Bella also said the mission also welcomed the approval of the country’s budget for 2014, and discussed the policy mix for fiscal year 2015.
“In this regard, the mission indicated the need to gradually reduce the fiscal deficit, which in turn will allow a progressive loosening of monetary policy,” he said. “Successfully reducing the fiscal deficit will depend on containing the cost of energy subsidies and significantly and decisively improving the performance of the electricity sector.”
The IMF urged Haiti to implement measures in these areas with “well-designed programmes” to protect the most vulnerable in the country.
Di Bella said the mission wished to “commend” Haitian authorities for what they called “sound macroeconomic policies” in the years following the 2010 earthquake.
The two sides will continue working in the next weeks toward finalizing discussions under the eighth and final review of the Extended Credit Facility with the IMF, with the goal of presenting the related documents for review before the end of August.