FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BudgIT Senegal, a leading public organization raising active citizen participation in nation-building and government-citizen communication for good governance and accountability, has urged the government to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of the $276 million loan it intends to receive from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) team and the Senegalese government shared on October 24, 2023, that both parties have reached a first-level agreement on Senegal’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and Extended Credit Facility (ECF), combined with the Resilience and Sustainability Facility (RSF) loan to Senegal under the Policy Support Instrument (PSI), a lending facility that provides low-interest loans to low-income countries with strong macroeconomic policies and a track record of implementing reforms. This announcement was shared at a joint press conference organized by Finance and Budget Minister Mamadou Moustapha Bâ and IMF representative Edward Gemayel.
The IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (ETF) leadership will finalize the agreement with Senegal on December 14, 2023. However, the Senegalese government must adhere to IMF rules and regulations, ensure transparency and accountability, and disclose how it intends to cover the debt component of the budget. We are concerned that the government has been impeding access to budgetary information, mainly information about how it intends to cover the debt component of the budget and failing to adopt good practices from good governance groups. This grant raises concerns about how the debt burden will impact young Senegalese in the future.
The Senegalese National Assembly’s Finance Act 2023 raises concerns that the country’s debt burden must be less than 70% by April 2023. Despite the government’s claims about debt sustainability, experts and civic organizations like BudgIT Senegal have repeatedly warned about this predicament. We are concerned that the administration reduced the debt ratio to 68.4% to remain within the permitted limit of 70%. With elections approaching, we demand transparency and accountability in using Senegal’s new IMF funding to ensure it is not diverted to fund political activities.
Access to budgetary information remains a challenge, and the Freedom of Information Act, which enhances citizen access to information, is still pending despite stakeholder recommendations including BudgIT Senegal, The Forum Civil, the Senegal CSO platform, the Inspectorate General of State, and Senegal’s “PGO”.
“The Senegalese government must ensure that the IMF loan is used for its intended purpose and that the public is kept informed of how the funds are being spent,” said Amadou Program of BudgIT Senegal. “This is essential to building trust between the government and its citizens.”
BudgIT Senegal is calling on the government to
- Publish a detailed plan for how the funding will be used, including specific targets and timelines.
- Establish a mechanism for public participation in the oversight of the IMF loan.
- Allow the institutions like the Inspectorate General of State to audit and publish reports on the use of this IMF loan, as well as any other one contracted in 2023.
- Conduct an independent audit of the use of the IMF loan at the end of the loan period.
“The IMF loan is an opportunity for the Senegalese government to demonstrate its commitment to transparency and accountability,” said Amadou Samb, Program Lead at BudgIT. “By taking the steps outlined above, the government can show its citizens that it is committed to using the loan to improve their lives.”
Name: Abioala Afolabi
Title: BudgIT International Growth Manager