The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) for Iraq covering the period of November 2015-December, 2016, on which the authorities and staff had reached ad-referendum agreement in November 2015 (see Press Release No. 15/509).
Iraq is facing a double shock arising from ISIS attacks and the sharp drop in global oil prices. The conflict is hurting the non-oil economy through destruction of infrastructure and assets, disruptions in trade, and deterioration of investor confidence.
The impact of the oil price decline—already felt in 2014—intensified in 2015, affecting the budget, the external sector, and medium-term growth potential. The authorities are responding to the crisis with a mix of fiscal adjustment and financing.
To help address the present and urgent balance of payments and budget needs triggered by the ISIS attacks and the collapse in oil prices, the authorities have also requested an SMP to establish a track record of policy credibility to pave the way to a possible Fund financing arrangement.
Under the SMP, the authorities will implement fiscal consolidation that will contain public expenditure in line with available revenue and financing, and aim to reduce the non-oil primary deficit by US$20 billion or 12 percent of non-oil GDP between 2013 and 2016. Under the SMP, agreement has also been reached on measures to strengthen public financial management, anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), and financial sector stability.
The IMF has assisted Iraq in strengthening economic institutions and in providing advice to the government on economic policies and reforms for more than a decade. IMF staff will work closely with the authorities to monitor progress in the implementation of their economic program. In addition, the IMF will continue to provide technical assistance to support Iraq’s capacity-building efforts and its reform program.
(IMF image via Shutterstock)