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Russia: IMF Mission Begins Review For November Drawing

Washington, 17 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - The International Monetary Fund review team has resumed its work in Moscow.

The team is checking especially the progress on improving tax collections as part of the monthly review required for release of the next drawing of the IMF's $10.1 billion three-year extended loan.

The fund's Board of Executive Directors on Friday approved release of the previously delayed tranche of about $336 million from October. The board said the disbursement was approved on the basis of improved revenue performance, the efforts of the Russian government to put its fiscal policy back on the right path, and the implementation of several structural reform measures.

The October and November tranches were delayed because of poor tax collections, but the tax service said collections in November reached 90 percent of projections.

The head of the IMF's Moscow office, Thomas Wolf, said the team will review tax collections through the first two weeks of December as well as look at the overall economic situation as Russia heads into 1997.

Sources at IMF headquarters in Washington say the mission is to be in Moscow about one week, but that even if everything remains on track it will probably be early January before the delayed November and December drawings could be approved.