Successful talks with IMF expected

Serbian Minister of Finance Mladjan Dinkic said today that Serbia is readily awaiting tomorrow’s arrival of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) mission. He expressed hope that by the end of the year the three-year arrangement with the IMF will be completed, which means that Serbia’s $700 million debt to the Paris Club of Creditors will be written off.

At a press conference, Dinkic said that the first, preliminary stage in talks with the IMF has been successfully completed and recalled that an increase in foreign direct investment has always followed all successful arrangements with this institution, which is the reason why this year’s investments are expected to total $2 billion.

According to Dinkic, the Serbian government’s talks with representatives of important international institutions are going strong – first of all, the talks with the EU, which will gain intensity in early November, then the talks with the World Trade Organisation, started two weeks ago, and lastly the talks with the World Bank in Washington, which have now reached the final stage and concern a new $55 million loan for the purpose of structural adjustments.

Dinkic said that a mission of the international rating agency Standard and Poor’s will arrive in Serbia in November and if the talks are successful, Serbia’s international credit rating will be once again upgraded.

He also announced that a proposal for Serbia’s 2006 budget is on the agenda of the government session this week, adding that there will again be a budgetary surplus next year.

Dinkic recalled that the legal deadline for adopting a proposed budget is the end of the year and added that he expects the Serbian parliament to adopt it by mid-November at the latest.