DAR-ES-SALAAM, The Tanzanian economy grew strongly at 6.8 per cent durinb the first half of 2017, says the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has just completed its annual routine review of the local economy from Nov 30 to Dec 12.

The leader of the IMF review team, Mauricio Villafuerte, said in a statement that the team had held discussions under the Policy Support Instrument (PSI) programme which was approved on July 16, 2014 and on the macro-economic policies and structural reforms which could underpin a successor arrangement.

He said preliminary data for the first half of 2017 released by the authorities indicated that the economy grew strongly, with the good harvest set to help support growth. However, other macro-economic indicators, including lower-than-anticipated government spending and tax revenue collections, weak private sector credit growth and rising non-performing loans suggest that there are downward pressures on growth.

The team noted that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is engaged in re-basing its gross domestic product (GDP) statistics, an exercise which is required of all East African Community (EAC) countries. In this context, the NBS will revisit its source data and compilation methodology, and the team looks forward to the revised data, which should help provide a clearer picture of economic growth, the statement said.

The good harvest earlier this year has improved significantly the availability of food, lowered food price inflation, and driven down the headline inflation rate to 4.4 per cent in November, below the monetary authorities' medium-term target of 5.0 per cent."

Broadly stable commodity prices and a prudent monetary policy stance are expected to keep inflation within the authorities' target range. The macro-economic performance under the programme has been broadly satisfactory.