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Russia: IMF Mission Departs Without Completing Review

Moscow, 24 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - Officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) left Moscow today without completing their review of Russia's recent economic performance under a three-year loan deal.

But a senior IMF representative says their departure should not necessarily be seen as a sign that payments on the $10 billion loan would be delayed.

The IMF's Moscow Representative Thomas Wolf told RFE/RL today that the inability of the fund's mission to complete the assessment during its visit should not be viewed as a "bad signal." He said the mission was not able to fully complete its review in the time period scheduled for the visit.

Wolf said IMF officials stationed in Moscow would continue working on the review, which he said would probably be completed "in the next few working days." The report makes a recommendation on whether to release two loan installments of $340 million each.

Wolf said if they come up with a positive assessment in the next few days, the IMF's board could vote early next month to release the loan payments.

Wolf declined to comment on whether the mission would make a positive recommendation. He said IMF officials are paying special attention to Russia's progress in structural reform and tax revenue collection. He acknowledged that tax collection has steadily improved after hitting a low point in September.

The IMF twice suspended payments of loan installments last year, noting Russia's failure to meet revenue targets in the 1996 budget.