Economy – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the East African Community (EAC) have launched a a collaboration programme to improve the compilation and dissemination of government finance statistics, with the principal aim of meeting the fiscal data requirements associated with the upcoming East Africa Monetary Union (EAMU).
In a statement made available to PANA here Thursday, the EAC said a five-day inaugural workshop for statisticians and economists from the EAC partner states to identify the needs for technical assistance to be provided by the IMF is underway at the Community headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
EAC heads of state in November 2013 signed the EAMU Protocol with the objective of promoting and maintaining monetary and fiscal stability, aimed at facilitating economic integration to attain sustainable growth and development of the Community.
The regional economic bloc comprises Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. South Sudan’s application to join the group is under consideration.
Commenting on the ongoing workshop, which is due to end Friday, EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Dr. Enos Bukuku, said: ‘The IMF intervention is timely in facilitating production of robust statistical data required for the establishment of EAMU and transition to EAC single currency by 2024.”
According to Bukuku, government finance statistics compiled in accordance with internationally agreed methodological standards would not only provide the region with an important framework for comparing, analysing and evaluating fiscal policy, but also an opportunity to improve government and public sector performance.
At the workshop, country representatives from the five EAC member countries are discussing their national fiscal data development plans, which will guide the work of improving compilation and dissemination of regionally comparable data in accordance with the international standards by 2018, which is within the timelines of the EAMU Protocol.
IMF East Africa Regional Technical Assistance (East Afritac) Centre Coordinator Sukhwinder Singh said “as part of the collaboration programme, the IMF will provide technical assistance through hands-on sessions during visits by experts to participating countries, as well as regular workshops to provide practical training and allow countries to share experiences”.
East Afritac, located in Dar es Salaam, is one of nine regional IMF technical assistance centres around the world and serves Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.