IMF Joins World Bank in Querying Tanzania's New Statistics Law

(Bloomberg) -- The International Monetary Fund raised questions over Tanzania’s amendments to the national statistics law, just weeks after the World Bank expressed concerns over the revisions.

In September, Tanzania’s lawmakers passed amendments that criminalize publication of figures that haven’t been approved by the statistician-general, changes that the World Bank said were “out of line with international standards.” The alterations also impose fines or a minimum three-year jail term on anyone found guilty of questioning official figures.

“We are awaiting further information from the authorities about the implications of the amendments and any regulations that may be issued to operationalize them,” the IMF Resident Representative Bhaswar Mukhopadhyay said in an emailed response to questions.

The Dar es Salaam-based Citizen newspaper reported this month that the World Bank froze disbursement of a $50 million grant to Tanzania because of the amendments.

Rights activists have warned that passage of the law, which is yet to receive presidential approval, is part of a broader government crackdown on dissent and criticism of its political and economic records.

IMF officials will conduct an Article IV-related mission to Tanzania at the end of November, Mukhopadhyay said. In its last review, the lender said that while the country had a relatively strong macroeconomic performance, implementation of structural reforms had been uneven.

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