The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it has reached an agreement with Haiti on a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) “following extensive discussions” in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.The Washington-based financial institution said that a team led by Chris Walker, IMF Mission Chief for Haiti, ended a weeklong visit to the country on Sunday and at the conclusion of the mission, Alejandro Werner, Director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, met with President Jovenel Moïse, the Minister of Economy and Finance, the Governor of the Central Bank and other senior officials to mark the accord and discuss Haiti’s development strategy and continuing engagement with the IMF.Werner later described the agreement as an “important sign of commitment to improving the living conditions and increasing the economic opportunities of the Haitian people.”IMF to play a leadership roleThe statement said that President Moïse shared his vision for development of Haiti and asked the IMF to play a leadership role in bringing together the country’s development partners to support his reform and development plans, including strengthening the social safety net.Walker said the accord was reached “following extensive discussions” and the Haitian government is committed to carry out economic and structural reforms to promote economic growth and stability, and alleviate poverty, in Haiti.International community welcome reformsHe said the international community and key donors welcome the government’s resolve to implement reforms to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth. “Under the SMP, fiscal policy will focus on mobilizing revenues and rationalizing current expenditure, to make room for critical public investment in infrastructure, health, education and social services. This will include measures to improve tax collection and efficiency, and to eliminate excessive subsidies, including on retail fuel.“Other reforms will focus on stemming the losses of the public electricity company (EDH), which in recent years have amounted to a sizeable portion of the public deficit, by improving the efficiency of billing, and by reforming contracting practices.“Fiscal reforms also aim to increase the transparency of public accounts. These reforms are to be accompanied by a substantial package of mitigating measures to protect the most vulnerable members of society,” Walker said.“IMF staff will work closely with the authorities to monitor progress in the implementation of their economic program. The IMF will also continue to provide technical assistance to support Haiti’s capacity-building efforts and structural reform agenda.”Walker said that the SMP is designed to help the authorities build a credible track record, and successful implementation of the program will catalyze critical flows from development partners as well as support a future request for an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement.