Serbia-Montenegro soon to receive some $200 mln in loans

Serbia and Montenegro will soon receive nearly $200 million in international aid, said Serbian Minister of Finance and Economy Bozidar Djelic in Washington on Tuesday, adding that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will back the holding of a donor’s conference for Serbia and Montenegro in September.

The IMF will release two tranches worth over $100 million to support the country’s balance of payments on Wednesday. Soon afterwards, the World Bank is to disburse a $40 million tranche of an $80 million loan for the reform of Serbia and Montenegro’s social sector. In May, the World Bank is also to release a $40 million tranche of a second $80 million loan for reforming the financial and private sectors, Djelic told the Tanjug news agency.

Delegations of the Serbian and Montenegrin governments met with US Department of State Under Secretary for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs Alan Larson on Monday to discuss US support to Serbia and Montenegro, along with the IMF, and a new donor’s conference for the country. Larson said he expects the full normalisation of trade relations between the US and Serbia and Montenegro, adding that the US House of Representatives has already approved a related resolution that is to be adopted in the US Senate shortly.

Serbian Minister of Economy and Privatisation Aleksandar Vlahovic said during a meeting with US government officials that the Serbian government delegation encouraged US investors to invest in Serbia.

Vlahovic said that the delegation presented the results the Serbian government has thus far achieved at a gathering of US investors, organised by the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), an American business association. Serbia was presented as a stable country in terms of politics and economy, with a clear vision of its path to a market economy and the European Union.

Vlahovic added that investors positively assessed US Steel’s investment in the Sartid steel plant, and the purchase of the Rumaguma tire company by Los Angeles-based Galaxy. They also announced that more US investments would come to Serbia as part of the privatisation of Serbia’s companies.

Serbian Minister of International Economic Relations Goran Pitic said that new possibilities of support to Serbia’s private sector have opened, following a meeting with representatives of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

On April 15, the Serbian government delegation will hold talks with distinguished Harvard University professors in Boston, Massachusetts, on increasing the Serbian economy’s competitiveness.

After the talks, the delegation will hold a panel discussion with university students, to pay homage to slain Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, who gave a special lecture on Serbia at Harvard in September 2002.