Serbia’s finance minister expects new deal with IMF will bolster fiscal stability

Serbia’s finance minister Dusan Vujovic has said he expects the government’s new arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will help maintain the achieved macroeconomic and fiscal stability in the country.

The arrangement will support the continuation of the initiated projects and reforms in Serbia, although it will not include a financial component, Vujovic said during a meeting in Washington with IMF deputy managing director, Tao Zhang, according to a statement issued by the finance ministry on Saturday.

The achieved results are a clear signal for investments in the Serbian economy as the country is heading in the right direction, and the attention is now focused on a series of analyses aimed at finding the best way to overcome the remaining challenges, such as the restructuring of state-owned enterprises, the improvement of their efficiency and the tax administration reform, Vujovic said.

Serbia needs to continue the talks on the future arrangement, as the commitment shown by the Serbian government in the implementation of reforms is a clear intention to overcome all challenges, Zhang said during the meeting.

In February, the IMF said Serbia exited a successful $1.32 billion (1.08 billion euro) three-year stand-by programme. After three years of effort under the programme, Serbia’s economy has turned around, as fiscal accounts recorded a surplus in 2017, economic confidence improved with stronger investment both from foreign and domestic sources, while unemployment is near historic lows, and falling, banks are solid, and non-performing loans are now below their pre-crisis levels, the IMF said.

In February 2015, the IMF approved a 36-month stand-by arrangement (SBA) aimed at helping Serbia restore public finances’ health, increase the stability and resilience of the financial sector and implement comprehensive structural reforms.

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