IMF-Serbia: New arrangement to be discussed in spring

Serbian PM, Aleksandar Vucic announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos that he would meet with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in spring to discuss a new loan arrangement.

“We are very happy with the results we have achieved in implementing the standby arrangement that the IMF concluded with Serbia”, Vucic said, reminding that the arrangement was worth 1.2 billion EUR and that it was due to expire in February 2018.

He said he hoped a new arrangement would be discussed during the next review of the current agreement, tentatively expected in the spring.

Before the review, the IMF mission will make a separate staff visit to Belgrade in March. Last November, the IMF raised its forecast for Serbia’s 2016 economic growth to 2.7 percent from 2.5 percent and said it growth of 3 percent in 2017. It also agreed to a public-sector wage and pension increase in 2017.

But it said authorities needed to provide a clear restructuring plan for loss-making state companies, including copper mine RTB Bor, petrochemical plants and a coal mine, all of which received heavy subsidies in the past and accumulated debts, mainly to energy suppliers.

Vucic told the forum that the RTB Bor copper mine remains one of the biggest problems for the Serbian government. “And if we’ll be able to make an arrangement with someone to privatize it, to buy it, that would be great news for Serbia, and it’s likely that in today’s situation, it might be that the Chinese are the only ones to take care of that copper mine,” he said.

(Blic, Reuters, 18.01.2017)

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