IMF mission to visit Serbia for assessment of stand-by deal.

By bne IntelliNews February 8, 2010
The International Monetary Funds (IMF) is arriving in Belgrade today to assess the country's performance under the EUR 2.94bn stand-by loan deal, before approving the withdrawal of the third instalment.  As reported earlier, Serbia has so far drawn two instalments worth a total of EUR 1.13bn.  The IMF chief in Belgrade , Bogdan Lissovolik said the missions key task would be to asses the countrys performance under the programme. He also said it was too early to say whether the Serbian authorities were complying with the terms of the stand-by deal. Local media have quoted Lissovolik as saying that the IMF was worried that the government spends more on public sector salaries than it was agreed under the programme. The concern has been expressed also over the delays in public sector workforce reduction. We note that under the deal with the lender, Serbia pledged to keep public sector salaries and pensions frozen in 2010 and to launch pension reform during the year, as well as to lay-off some 8,000 workers from public administration. Several cabinet officials recently said that salaries and pensions might be unfrozen if Serbia posts higher growth this year. Serbia 's economy contracted by 2.8% in 2009, while a modest recovery and growth of 1.5% is expected in 2010.

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