Brnabic: New IMF arrangement by mid-2018

Serbia will sign a new arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by mid-2018, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said in London.

She added that the negotiations with the IMF would begin in March or April.

“I think that by mid-2018 we will go into another arrangement with the IMF,” Brnabic told Reuters in an interview, saying the country still had “a long way to go” on reforms.

“A new arrangement with the IMF will also be a positive signal for investors, financial institutions and the credit ratings agencies,” she said.

She was speaking on Sunday at the Serbian Embassy in London, during her first official visit to Britain since taking over as the country’s first female prime minister in June 2017.

Giving an update on eurobond issuance for the remainder of the year, Brnabic said Serbia had already met almost 30 percent of its gross financing needs for this year. “For our own budget financing needs we won’t need eurobonds issuing,” she said. However, eurobonds may be an option for liability management to swap costlier, shorter-dated securities for less expensive longer-dated ones.

Turning to planned privatisations, Brnabic hoped the country would make progress on dealing with part state-owned lender Komercijalna Banka 

“The Serbian government certainly will like to retain some ownership in Komercijalna Banka,” she said, adding she would discuss the issue with representatives of the EBRD, which wanted to sell its stake, at a meeting on Monday.

To reduce the burden of the public sector on state coffers, Serbia is trying to offload hundreds of state-run enterprises, including copper complex RTB Bor, Telekom Srbije and the Elektroprivreda Srbije power utility.

After several failed attempts to sell RTB Bor, Belgrade had embarked on a regeneration of the firm in recent years. The government was ready to take on a strategic partner, likely one of the firms Belgrade was already in contact with, said Brnabic.

“Our expectation is that we will close the full transaction by the end of this year.”

(Kurir, Reuters, 26.02.2018)



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