IMF’s Lagarde warns against ‘white elephant projects’

11 February 2019 | Sakenuus
Lisa Barrington and Davide Barbuscia - Oil exporters have not fully recovered from the dramatic oil price shock of 2014, the head of the IMF said on Saturday, and she cautioned against spending money on "white elephant projects".

"With revenues down, fiscal deficits are only slowly declining, despite significant reforms on both the spending and revenue sides, including the introduction of VAT and excise taxes," Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, told a conference in Dubai.

"This has led to a sharp increase in public debt, from 13% of GDP in 2013 to 33% in 2018."

Lagarde said the uncertainty in the growth outlook for oil exporters also reflected moves by countries to shift rapidly toward renewable energy over the new few decades, in line with the Paris climate change pact.

She said there was scope to improve fiscal frameworks in the Middle East with some of the weaknesses emanating from "short-termism and insufficient credibility".

Favour

Lagarde said governments in the region might be tempted to favour white elephant projects instead of investment in people and productive potential.

Saudi Arabia, the Middle East's biggest economy, has announced plans to go ahead with three major projects including NEOM, a US$500 billion economic zone announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The projects are backed by the country's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund.

Lagarde also said across the region, it is common for sovereign wealth funds to directly finance projects, bypassing the normal budget process, while state-owned enterprises in some countries had high levels of borrowing, outside the budget.

She said oil exporters could follow the example of other resource-rich countries such as Chile and Norway in using fiscal rules to protect priorities, such as social spending, from commodity price volatility.

Among oil importers in the Middle East region, growth had picked up, but it was still below the level before the global financial crisis, she said.

Deficits

Fiscal deficits remained high, and public debt had risen rapidly - from 64% of GDP in 2008 to 85% a decade later, she said. Public debt now exceeded 90% of GDP in nearly half of these countries.

Speaking about the global economy, Lagarde said the IMF was not seeing a global recession on the horizon, but risks were rising for global growth due to trade tensions and tightening financial conditions.

The IMF's revised forecast sees the global economy growing by 3.5% this year, 0.2 percentage points below what it expected in October.

"Unsurprisingly, a weaker global environment has knock-on effects on the region through a variety of channels - trade, remittances, capital flows, commodity prices, and financing conditions," she said. – Nampa/Reuters

Soortgelyk

 

NSFAF sluit ooreenkoms met Bank Windhoek

7 ure gelede | Onderwys

Die Finansiële Hulpfonds vir Namibiese Studente (NSFAF) en Bank Windhoek het vandag ʼn ooreenkoms aangegaan vir ʼn nuwe stelsel waardeur geld aan kwalifiserende studente gestuur...

Chinees Dinsdag in hof ná werker se skietdood

7 ure gelede | Misdaad

Die man wat gister na bewering deur sy Chinese werknemer in die Andara-nedersetting doodgeskiet is, is as mnr. Andreas Hausiku (32) geïdentifiseer.Hausiku was ‘n inwoner...

Twintig jaar tronkstraf vir verkragter

8 ure gelede | Howe

‘n 34-jarige man van Otjiwarongo is gister 20 jaar tronkstraf opgelê nadat hy skuldig bevind is aan die verkragting van ‘n minderjarige. Die dogter was...

Taking charge

19 ure gelede | Mense

Mariselle Stofberg Anthea van Heerden decided to take a leap of faith to start her own company in Windhoek.She is the managing director and...

Moontlike deurbraak

19 ure gelede | Misdaad

Denver KistingDie man wat gisteroggend weens Maandag se bloedbad op Arandis aangekeer is, het glo vir etlike ure geweier om met die polisie saam te...

Só staan sake in die Namibiese huis

19 ure gelede | Regering

Denver KistingPres. Hage Geingob het gistermiddag gesê sy boodskap van “welvaart vir almal” moenie verkeerd verstaan word nie.Volgens hom was die bedoeling nooit om oordaad...

Kabajani blossoms at GIPF

19 ure gelede | Mense

Michelline Nawatises Annette Likeleli Kabajani is a holder of a bachelor’s degree from the University of Namibia (Unam). She has also attained several management and...

Baking a name for herself!

19 ure gelede | Mense

Ester Kamati At the age of 28, Alma Tangi Nakanduungileh is climbing the entrepreneurial ladder and adding sweetness to her clients’ lives. A qualified...

A passion to unlock potential

19 ure gelede | Mense

Ester KamatiJustina Mulokoshi is a chartered accountant (CA) at PwC who has big dreams and is constantly on the lookout for new ways to improve...