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IMF Urges Belarus To Prove Commitment To Reforms


Chris Jarvis

Chris Jarvis

An International Monetary Fund official has told the Belarusian government it must show a firm commitment to reforms in order to qualify for IMF loans.

The government of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is requesting an IMF loan of up to $7 billion.

But Chris Jarvis, the head of an IMF mission that met with Belarusian authorities, said Minsk has to demonstrate a "clear commitment, including at the highest level, to stability and reforms" before loan negotiations could even start.

Jarvis told a briefing that Minsk needs "deep structural reform."

"The authorities should also continue with and accelerate their work on structural reform, especially enterprise reform, privatization, price liberalization, and banking sector reform," he said. "Deep structural reform is needed for Belarus to achieve strong and lasting growth and to increase living standards in a durable way."

Jarvis also said negotiations "are not yet at the point of being able to discuss what the specific amount of an IMF loan could be," and added that Belarus must focus on reducing inflation that has exceeded 60 percent this year.

Belarus is facing its worst financial crisis since the 1991 Soviet collapse, and the value of its currency has plunged by some 65 percent.

compiled from agency reports
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