The Banker‘s Finance Minister of the Year 2016 awards is held to celebrate the officials that have best managed to stimulate growth and stabilize their economy.
The Finance minister of the Year, Africa is Adriano Maleiane, Minister of economy and finance, Mozambique.
Like many of its regional peers, Mozambique’s economy has been feeling the pinch of tumbling commodity prices and lower trade growth. Although the International Monetary Fund (IMF) still anticipates gross domestic product (GDP) growth of about 6.3% for 2015, well above the 4.5% it expects across sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, the country is nevertheless grappling with a range of challenges. For one, its currency, the metical, had fallen about 36% against the dollar in 2015 by early December.
These difficulties have been compounded by the legacy of the previous government, which has left Mozambique with higher debt levels and a badly mismanaged bond issue to the tune of $850m.
The inauguration of a new government under president Felipe Nyusi in January 2015 has thus been a welcome change for Mozambique. The country’s new minister of economy and finance, Adriano Maleiane, assumed the role after a tenure as chief executive of the state-owned development bank Banco National de Investimentos. He was also the central bank governor of Mozambique between 1991 and 2006.
In his short time in office, Mr Maleiane has worked quickly to enforce discipline, support the economy and complete a number of much-needed reforms. The approval of the 2015 state budget will bring the fiscal deficit down from about 10% of GDP in 2014 to 6.5%, according to the IMF. In addition, the budget includes the addition of a new ex-ante rule governing the use of windfall revenue, ensuring that future gains can only be used for public investment, debt repayment or national emergencies.
This progress has been matched by adjustments to the country’s tax administration, which is expected to increase total revenues by about 0.7% of GDP in 2015. Meanwhile, payments to public sector employees have been digitised, while government payments to suppliers have been automated. In addition, a stock of outstanding VAT refund arrears valued at about $160m was securitised through a private placement of treasury bills in early 2015.
The minister was also a key figure in Mozambique’s negotiation of a $286m IMF loan, to help cushion the country’s currency in October 2015.