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Gabon: Staff Report for the 2015 Article IV Consultation—Informational Annex

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Published Date:
March 2016
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  • Relations with the Fund. Gabon has been a member of the International Monetary Fund since 1963. Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) member countries accepted the obligations of Article VIII in June/July 1996. The three-year SBA for about US $118 million expired in May 2010, with only the first three reviews completed. Recurrent fiscal slippages made it difficult to sustain the Fund-supported program. The last Article IV Consultation was concluded on February 18, 2015.
  • Relations with the World Bank. The World Bank is providing technical assistance on several areas, most importantly on statistics, public service wage bill, and institutional development. A US$ 58 million IBRD Loan for the Central African Regional and National Backbone project (CAB4) supporting the development of high speed telecommunication infrastructure was signed in May 2012. The World Bank has more recently approved two US$ 100 million loans, one to finance basic urban services and another to strengthen youth training.
  • Exchange rate regime: Gabon is a member of CEMAC. The common currency, the CFA franc, is pegged at the fixed rate of 655.957 CFA franc per euro. Gabon’s tax on wire transfers constitutes a restriction on the making of payments and transfers for current international transactions subject to approval under Article VIII, Section 2 (a) of the Articles of Agreement.
  • Statistical Issues. Gabon has subscribed to the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS). While data are broadly adequate for surveillance purposes, staff analysis was affected by the timeliness and coverage of fiscal data, the poor quality of balance of payments and financial stability data, and the limited information on labor cost and productivity.

Relations with the Fund

(As of December 31, 2015)

Membership Status: Joined September 10, 1963 Article VIII

General Resources Account:

SDR Million%Quota
Quota154.30100.00
Fund holdings of currency (Exchange Rate)153.4799.46
Reserve Tranche Position0.850.55

SDR Department:

SDR Million%Allocation
Net cumulative allocation146.72100.00
Holdings132.8090.51

Outstanding Purchases and Loans: None

Latest Financial Arrangements:

TypeDate of

Arrangement
Expiration

Date
Amount

Approved

(SDR Million)
Amount Drawn

(SDR Million)
Stand-ByMay 07, 2007May 06, 201077.150.00
Stand-ByMay 28, 2004Jul 31, 200569.4441.66
Stand-ByOct 23, 2000Apr 22, 200292.5813.22

Projected Payments to Fund (Expectation Basis)

(SDR Million, based on existing use of resources and present holdings of SDRs):

Forthcoming
20162017201820192020
Principal
Charges/Interest0.010.010.010.010.01
Total0.010.010.010.010.01

Implementation of HIPC Initiative: Not Applicable

Implementation of Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI): Not Applicable

Implementation of Post-Catastrophe Debt Relief (PCDR): Not Applicable

Safeguards Assessments:

The Banque des États d’ Afrique Centrale (BEAC) remains subject to close IMF monitoring of safeguards “rolling measures” in the context of new program requests and reviews for the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) countries. This follows governance challenges and control failures that emerged in 2009. A safeguards staff visit to the BEAC was last conducted in April 2015. Staff concluded that while the BEAC had continued the implementation of its reform plan, slippages had occurred and progress on implementing the safeguards rolling measures has been mixed, including on priority recommendations on amendments to the BEAC charter and adoption of an internationally recognized financial reporting framework (IFRS). The BEAC has requested IMF technical assistance to advance the implementation of the above two recommendations, and work is underway. Progress on implementation of the latter will remain subject to monitoring by the IMF, as a condition to continuing new program requests and reviews for CEMAC member countries.

Exchange Rate Arrangement:

The regional currency is the CFA franc. From 1948 to 1999, it was pegged to the French franc.

Since the euro was introduced in 1999, it has been pegged to the euro at the rate of CFAF 655.957 per euro.

Like other members of CEMAC, Gabon accepted the obligations of Article VIII, Sections 2, 3 and 4 on June 26, 1996. Gabon levies a tax on wire transfers, including for the making of payments and transfers for current international transactions, which gives rise to an exchange restriction subject to Fund approval under Article VII, Section 2(a) of the Articles. The authorities have exempted certain transactions from the tax; however, the tax continues to apply to other transfers subject to Fund jurisdiction.

Article IV Consultations:

Gabon is on a 12-month Article IV consultation cycle. The Executive Board concluded the last Article IV consultation with Gabon on February 18, 2015

FSAP Participation and ROSCs:

A national module for Gabon of the joint IMF/World Bank Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) was completed in 2002 and discussed by the Executive Board in March 2002 (IMF Country Report No. 02/98). The first regional Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) was carried out January-March 2006, and a regional FSAP Update was carried out during November 2014 to January 2015. Regional Reports on Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs) were done in the areas of monetary and financial policy transparency, banking supervision, and anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) in June 2006.

Resident Representative:

The Fund no longer has a resident representative nor a local economist in Libreville.

Technical Assistance:

A. Central Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center (AFRITAC)

AreaFocusTime of

Delivery
Revenue AdministrationCustoms/Tax collaboration-preventing/fighting fraudsDec. 2015
Public Debt managementDebt portfolio risk managementOct. 2015
Revenue AdministrationLTO performance measurement and assessmentSep. 2015
Macroeconomic StatisticsCompilation of high frequency indicatorsAug. 2015
Public Financial Management

/Revenue Administration
Modernization tax and customs procedures (revenue

assessment, collection, accounting)
Jul. 2015
Banking SupervisionDevelopment of an automated audit systemJul. 2015
Public Financial ManagementReview / expansion of budget coverageJul. 2015
Revenue AdministrationLTO performance measurement and assessmentApr. 2015
Banking SupervisionTraining of new supervisors—session 2Apr. 2015
Revenue AdministrationCustoms/Tax collaboration preventing/fighting fraudsMar. 2015
Public Debt managementReview of operational proceduresMar. 2015
Banking SupervisionTraining of new supervisors—session 1Mar. 2015
Public Financial managementManual of public expenses—accounting phaseMar. 2015
Revenue AdministrationCustoms/Tax collaboration preventing/fighting fraudsFeb. 2015
Banking SupervisionRisk management and internal controlFeb 2015
Revenue AdministrationFurther development of automated Customs risk

management system
Nov. 2014
Public Financial ManagementStrengthening budget executionOct. 2014
Banking SupervisionWorkshop on financial stabilitySep. 2014
Public Financial

Management/Revenue

Administration/Debt Management
Multisector workshop on development and

implementation of government cash management

frameworks
Sep. 2014
Revenue AdministrationLaunching an automated performance assessment and

measurement program for LTO
June 2014
Revenue AdministrationDeveloping an automated Customs risk management

system
May 2014
Revenue AdministrationStrengthening VAT audits of commercial and trader

operations
April 2014
Revenue AdministrationImproving collection and enforcement proceduresMar. 2014
Revenue administrationModernizing VAT refund procedures for large taxpayersFeb. 2014

B. Headquarters

DepartmentPurposeTime of

Delivery
FADTrust Fund DesignSept. 2015
FADRationalization of Expenditure ChainJune 205
FADPEFA assessment and PFM reformsMay 2014
FADCustom administrationMarch 2014
FADPEFA assessmentDec. 2013
FADPublic finance managementJuly 2013
FADShort term expert visit on PFM (4 visits)2013–14
FADShort term expert visit on Customs (5 visits)2013–14

Relations with the World Bank

TitleProductsProvisional timing of missionsExpected delivery date
A. Mutual information on relevant work programs
The World Bank work program in the next 12 monthsWorld Bank advisory services are ongoing in the following areas:

- Statistics: Under the US$1.3 million Statistics Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) the Bank will provide long-term strategic advice to the national statistics office and the implementation of the national statistics strategy and a targeted assistance for the implementation of a new household survey - Enquête Gabonaise pour l’Evaluation de la Pauvreté (EGEP II).
Missions to be spread over FY 16June 2016
Tax system reform: Through the US$1 million Tax System Reform RAS which is a follow up of the diagnostic of tax system carried out under the first RAS signed in 2012, the Bank is assisting the authorities on the rationalization of the tax exemptions system, the rationalization of the tax structure, and the implementation of a risk-based audit system.Missions to be spread over FY16 and FY 17December 2016
Two studies on Energy and Water, financed under the AFREA Trust Fund (US$1.3 million) to assist the government of Gabon (GoG) in the operationalization of a sustainable delivery model for basic electricity and water services in rural areas. This new model is based on two pillars: (i) delegation of responsibility for service provision to specialized O&M operators, and (ii) sustainable long-term financing combining cost recovery and subsidies. O&M operators will be competitively selected and will be in charge of installing equipment, carrying out O&M, and recovering payment for service in their regional service areas. Payments to the operators will depend on the effective delivery of services.March 2016September 2016
Public Financial Management (Phase II). A pilot for program budgeting was undertaken in 11 ministries in 2013. In May 2015, a new PFM Act was adopted that makes mandatory the use of procurement, commitment, and treasury plans. The use of such plans, with the support of the PFM II RAS, will enable the roll-out of program budgeting. The PFM II RAS is also supporting (i) the operationalization of the public procurement regulatory agency and (ii) and the consolidation of program budgeting approach.n/aDecember 2016
Institutional Development Fund amounting to US$350,000 supporting (i) the professionalization of the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI)’s staff in performance audit, (ii) the revision of the institution Organic Law, and (iii) the reinforcement of the relation between the SAI and its external stakeholders.n/an/a
Forestry study: This Technical Assistance (TA) has for objective to assess of the impact on the economy and on the sector of the 2010 ban of log export, and to assess the potential of the sector to contribute to economic diversification through a better performing wood processing sector.Preparation mission is scheduled for January 2016December 2016
Public sector wage bill: This Technical Assistance (TA) has for objective to help the Government control the total wage bill, notably by helping design some possible reforms that would enable a better control of the public wage bill.n/aMay 2016
Health Financing report. This study provides a discussion on health financing in Gabon; it aims at informing the development of a national health financing strategy by the Government.CompletedDelivered in June 2014
Export Diversification and Competiveness Policy note. This note synthesizes Gabon’s non-oil export potential provides sector-specific recommendations to address the challenges of export diversification.CompletedDelivered in September 2014
World Bank lending:

- A US$18 million Investment Promotion and Competitiveness project was approved in March 2014. The objective of the Project is to contribute to the improvement of the investment climate and foster enterprise development in Gabon. The Project consists of three components: (i) institutional development to improve business climate; (ii) support to enterprise development and; (iii) project coordination and public-private dialogue.
The last mission took place in June 2015The project became effective in March 2015
− A US$58 million IBRD Loan for the Central African Regional and National Backbone project (CAB4) was approved in March 2012 and became effective in March 2013. The objective of the Project is to contribute to increase geographical reach and usage of regional broadband network services and reduce their prices in the territory of the Gabonese Republic. The project components consist of: (i) Enabling environment; (ii) Connectivity; and (iii) Project management.Last supervision mission took place in September 2015. Next supervision missions scheduled Q3 FY16 and Q2FY17.5 year project
− A US$60 million Access to Basic Services in Rural Areas and Capacity Building Project (Energy) approved by the Board of the Bank on September 17, 2015. Its objectives are to expand access to water and energy services in targeted rural areas and to establish mechanisms to improve sustainability of service provision.March 20165 year project
− A US$7.5 million GEF wetlands grant aims to enhance protection of biodiversity in selected forested wetlands on the Ramsar list through knowledge creation and development of conservation measures for sustainable wetlands management.The project is effective. Last supervision mission took place in October 20155 year project. Expected closing date in April 2020
− A US$100 million Infrastructure and Local Development Program II was approved in December 2015. It aims at improving access to urban infrastructure and services in selected underserviced neighborhoods and to build basic capacities for municipal management in target cities.First supervision mission is scheduled in FY165 year project
− A US$100 million Skills for Employability Support Project is ongoing. The overarching objective of the project is supporting youth employability in Gabon to address the twin goals of promoting shared prosperity and reducing extreme poverty.The last mission took place in December 2015 for the negotiationThe board date is February 10, 2016. The Implementation start date is July 2016 and end is December 2021
− A US$9.33 million Wildlife and Human-Elephant Conflict Management Project is planned. It will help finance the management of four parks in South Gabon (Loango, Moukalaba-Doudou, Mayumba and Waka). In addition to providing funds to fight poaching, it will be supporting local communities in the area of park management, including eco-tourism and other income-generating activities.Preparation mission (PAD designing) scheduled in January 20165 years project. Expected implementation end date in May 2021.
− A US$23 million Additional Financing (AF) to scale up the fourth series of projects (SOP4, formerly APL4) of the Central African Backbone (CAB) Program (P122776) coupled with a level two restructuring to extend the project closing date is under preparation.Appraisal mission scheduled in February 2016Board date tentatively scheduled March 2016
− A US$56million e-Gabon project is under preparation. The objective of the Project is to increase the efficiency of public health management and services delivery by rolling out a new National Health Information System - aligning the efficiency of Information and Communications Technology with practitioners’ needs - and to advance the development of a digital innovation ecosystem in Gabon to seize opportunities arising from eHealth applications and servicesAppraisal mission scheduled in February 2016Board date tentatively scheduled March 2016
IFC investments:

The IFC will support the productive sectors and enabling environment to boost private sector-led growth and promote economic diversification. Building on its ongoing portfolio, the IFC aims to increase private sector participation (through PPP projects) in physical infrastructure (power generation and transport), value creation in the oil and gas industry, diversification of activity in non-oil sectors (agribusiness, forestry and petrochemical projects), and investment climate reforms.
Missions to be spread over CY 2015
− SETRAG (privately owned and operated national rail company). IFC is considering support for the rehabilitation of the track infrastructure between Libreville and Franceville and the acquisition of new rolling stock for the replacement and expansion of transport capacity. To this end, IFC is instructing the mobilization of a commercial loan to SETRAG from its own account and from other DFIs including PROPARCO, the private arm of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
− Aéroport de Libreville (ADL - Libreville Airport Concessionaire): IFC has signed a mandate to assist ADL with the rehabilitation and expansion of the Libreville Airport passenger facilities. IFC will provide a loan and will help ADL in raising funds.
− Vaalco Gabon: A loan has been accorded in September 2013 to Vaalco Gabon to finance the company’s oil exploration and development programs under the offshore Etame Permit. The project comprises: (i) the construction of two new platforms and associated facilities; (ii) the construction of production wells; and (iii) the installation of crude sweetening facilities.
− Libreville ring road: IFC currently scoping a possible toll road project that it could help structure and finance.
B. Requests for work program inputs
Bank request to FundArticle IV documentsFY16
C. Agreement on joint products and missions
Joint products in the next 12 monthsCollaboration on various data issuesOngoing

Statistical Issues

Gabon—Statistical Issues AppendixAs of January 20, 2016
I. Assessment of Data Adequacy for Surveillance
General. Data provision has some shortcomings, but is broadly adequate for surveillance. Staff’s analysis is affected by shortcomings in the accuracy, reliability and adequacy of periodicity and timeliness for certain data, as well as consistency between datasets. The statistical producing agencies do not have sufficient access to source data and lack an institutional framework in which to share information and coordinate compilation efforts. To monitor progress in the implementation of PSGE, household surveys should be conducted and disseminated regularly.



Gabon participates in the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS), but has not updated the metadata or plans for improvement since 2002. Except for consumer prices, the authorities do not report any real sector or government finance statistics (GFS) to STA for publication in International Financial Statistics (IFS) or for electronic dissemination. Detailed economic and financial statistics, including long historical time series, are published in the Tendances de l’Économie, issued twice a year by the General Directorate of Statistics and Economic Studies (DGSEE) of the Minister of Sustainable Development, Economy, Investment Promotion and Prospective. More recent sectoral developments are described in detail in the Tableau de Bord de l’Économie, issued quarterly by the Ministry of the Sustainable Development. Due to capacity constraints, Gabon does not provide IIP data, which is required for all IMF members under Article VIII, Section 5. The authorities have not taken any step to fill this gap.
National Accounts. Central AFRITAC (AFC) is working with authorities to incorporate the System of National Accounts 1993 methodological recommendations. A new series of national accounts, covering the period 2001-2009 has been prepared. Compilation of national accounts for 2010-2013 is underway, and the whole new series should be released soon after the 2010-2013 accounts have been completed. AFC is also assisting Gabon with the implementation of quarterly national accounts and related indicators.



Employment and unemployment. Data on unemployment and the total labor force are not systematically available.
Price Statistics. In 2007 the authorities began publishing an improved CPI index, which covers the same basket of goods and services as the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) Harmonized Consumer Price Index (HCPI) and uses a weighting scheme derived from Gabon’s 2005 household expenditure survey. The CPI only covers the capital city of Libreville.
Government Finance Statistics. A major shortcoming is limited institutional coverage, as social security operations are not included in the Statement of Operations of either the central or the general government. Audited accounts of oil sector operations are generally available annually and sometimes quarterly, but with a significant reporting lag. Other needed improvements include the recording of government-owned capital formation financed by oil companies and the recording of government arrears. Data provided for surveillance purposes are based on GFSM 1986. Gabon does not provide GFS data to the IMF for inclusion in the Government Finance Statistics Yearbook nor the International Financial Statistics.
Monetary and Financial Statistics. The Bank of Central African States (BEAC) regularly reports in electronic form monthly monetary, interest rate, and exchange rate statistics for Gabon and other CEMAC member countries for publication in the IFS, but delays occur sometimes in the submission of data. Institutional coverage of the monetary statistics for Gabon is comprehensive, but accuracy is affected by cross-border movements of currency among CEMAC member countries.

In mid-2007, the BEAC started a project to migrate monetary statistics of CEMAC member countries to the methodology of the Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual (MFSM). As part of this project, a regional workshop was organized by the BEAC in December 2007 to finalize the mapping of source data from commercial banks to the MFSM concepts and framework. STA participated in this workshop to provide guidance and advice. The BEAC has recently submitted test monetary data for Gabon using the standardized report forms for the period January 2000-December 2007.
Financial Sector Surveillance.

Gabon Does not report Financial Soundness Indicators (FSIs) to STA.
External Sector Statistics. Balance of payments statistics are compiled by the national directorate of the BEAC and the estimates are validated by staff from BEAC headquarters. Data are disseminated with considerable delay and they have not been submitted for publication in the IFS since 2006. Since 1995, compilation of balance of payments statistics has conformed to the Balance of Payments Manual, 5th edition. Source data are collected through: (i) surveys of enterprises by the central bank (the main source of data); (ii) reports from banks and the postal administration on foreign exchange transactions of other enterprises, retailers, and private individuals; and (iii) BEAC reports on banknote movements between Gabon and other BEAC countries. External trade data are mostly based on estimates, which are not cross-checked with customs data. Data on other items of the current account are not very reliable or accurate due to low response rates to enterprise surveys, despite partial correction through adjustments. Foreign direct investment in the financial account is likely to be underestimated owing to insufficient detail in the oil sector survey. The magnitude and detailed breakdown of private capital flows, particularly short term, suffer because data are not comprehensive.



There are comprehensive data on the stock of external public debt and its composition, as well as detailed projections on debt service due. Data are provided, usually to Fund missions, by the General Directorate of Public Debt (Direction générale de la dette publique) of the Minister of Sustainable Development, Economy, Investment Promotion and Prospective.
Gabon: Table of Common Indicators Required for Surveillance(As of January 28, 2016)
Date of latest observation (For all dates in table, please use format dd/mm/yy)Date receivedFrequency of Data7Frequency of Reporting7Frequency of Publication7
Exchange RatesDec. 2012Dec. 2012DDD
International Reserve Assets and Reserve Liabilities of the Monetary Authorities1Oct. 2015Jan. 2016MMM
Reserve/Base Money10/151/5/16MMM
Broad Money10/151/5/16MMM
Central Bank Balance Sheet10/151/5/16MMM
Consolidated Balance Sheet of the Banking System10/151/5/16MMM
Interest Rates203/15n.a.MMM
Consumer Price Index10/15n.a.MMM
Revenue, Expenditure, Balance and Composition of Financing3 – General Government408/1423/10/14MQN/A
Revenue, Expenditure, Balance– Central GovernmentSep. 2015n.a.MQN/A
Stocks of Central Government and Central Government-Guaranteed Debt5Dec. 2011Dec. 2012QQN/A
External Current Account BalanceDec. 2011Dec. 2012IMA
Exports and Imports of Goods and ServicesDec. 2011Dec. 2012MMI
GDP/GNP2008Dec. 2012AIA
Gross External DebtDec. 2011Dec. 2012QII
International Investment Position6N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

Includes reserve assets pledged or otherwise encumbered as well as net derivative positions.

Both market-based and officially-determined, including deposit rate, discount rates, money market rates, rates on treasury bills, notes and bonds.

Foreign, domestic bank, and domestic nonbank financing.

The general government consists of the central government (budgetary funds, extra budgetary funds, and social security funds) and state and local governments.

Including currency and maturity composition.

Includes external gross financial asset and liability positions vis-à-vis nonresidents.

Daily (D), Weekly (W), Monthly (M), Quarterly (Q), Annually (A); Irregular (I); Not Available (NA).

Includes reserve assets pledged or otherwise encumbered as well as net derivative positions.

Both market-based and officially-determined, including deposit rate, discount rates, money market rates, rates on treasury bills, notes and bonds.

Foreign, domestic bank, and domestic nonbank financing.

The general government consists of the central government (budgetary funds, extra budgetary funds, and social security funds) and state and local governments.

Including currency and maturity composition.

Includes external gross financial asset and liability positions vis-à-vis nonresidents.

Daily (D), Weekly (W), Monthly (M), Quarterly (Q), Annually (A); Irregular (I); Not Available (NA).

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