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IMF grants Malawi waiver after it overstated its reserves

Friday, November 18, 2022
IMF grants Malawi waiver after it overstated its reserves © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The International Monetary Fund logo is seen inside the headquarters at the end of the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Washington, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

BLANTYRE (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund's executive board has granted Malawi a waiver after it misreported its international reserves, the IMF said on Thursday, helping clear the way for new lending.

The IMF said in a statement that at the time of the first and combined second and third reviews of a three-year extended credit facility approved in 2018, Malawi had overstated its reserves for end-June and end-December 2018, and end-June 2019.

It did so by including pledged term deposits and assets through contracting short-term swaps.

"The IMF executive directors granted the waiver on account of the corrective measures the authorities have taken so far and commit to going forward," the IMF's resident representative for Malawi, Farayi Gwenhamo said in written responses to questions.

"This opens a pathway to a new extended credit facility once public debt sustainability is addressed," Gwenhamo said, adding the waiver was granted at the IMF's board meeting on Wednesday.

Among corrective measures taken by Malawian authorities, the IMF cited the dismissal of the former governor of Malawi's central bank in July 2020, a special audit of the bank's foreign exchange reserves completed in mid-June 2022 and improved data reporting to the fund.

The IMF and Malawi last month reached a staff-level agreement on up to $88.3 million in emergency financing under a new IMF arrangement called the "Food Shock Window".

Earlier this year Malawi also requested a four-year extended credit facility to help with balance of payments difficulties.

The donor-dependent southern African country has been experiencing snaking queues at fuel stations that are running dry due to a lack of foreign currency.

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02-12-2022 20:15:19 (UTC+7)

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