Equatorial Guinea made its first standby loan agreement with the IMF in 1985 and negotiated a structural adjustment agreement in 1988. Government problems with budget overruns and a continuing, structural imbalance of trade frustrated IMF technicians, who stopped payments in 1990. Nonetheless, the government reduced the 1990 budget and enacted key portions of the structural adjustment program: import price liberalization, economic diversification, utility rate increases, clarification of property rights, and private sector stimulus. With these steps taken and with petroleum revenues increasing, the IMF restarted the blocked structural adjustment program in December 1991. By 1994, however, repeated human rights violations and the failure to enact economic reform led to the suspension of most foreign economic assistance. In 1998, the government privatized distribution of petroleum products; petroleum revenues, along with sales taxes and duties, account for two-thirds of government revenues.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that in 2001 Equatorial Guinea's central government took in revenues of approximately $200 million and had expenditures of $158 million. Overall, the government registered a surplus of approximately $42 million. External debt totaled $225 million.