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Bulgaria: IMF Offers Consultations About Proposed Currency Board

By Petar Andonov

Prague, 6 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - A high-ranking International Monetary Fund (IMF) official has offered to begin talks with Bulgaria's major political forces about the proposed introduction of a currency board to replace the Central Bank.

Michael Deppler, Deputy Director of the IMF's European department, made the suggestion yesterday during talks in Sofia with the Chairman of Bulgaria's Parliament, Blagovest Sendov. Sendov later said such a measure could impose restrictions on the embattled Bulgarian economy and thus, as he put it, "can not be undertaken without political understanding on the issue."

Sendov also said that the currency board's issue should be resolved through an act of Parliament, thereby demonstrating political will. He said that if there is any lack of agreement on the issue, a currency board will n-o-t be introduced in Bulgaria.

The board was proposed with the intention of stabilizing Bulgaria's economy and bringing down an inflation rate that has risen fourfold since the start of this year.

Earlier, Deppler met Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister Dontcho Konakchiev for talks focusing on tightening foreign exchange policy.