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Russia: IMF To Consider Release Of Loan Payment

By Robert Lyle and Stephanie Baker

Washington, 5 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Board of Executive Directors of the International Monetary Fund is tentatively scheduled to meet Friday to consider the release of more tranches of Russia's $10 billion three-year loan, according to an IMF spokeswoman.

The IMF's resident representative in Moscow, Thomas Wolf, said the recent review mission finished its report on the country's economic progress this week. Completion of the review is necessary for the IMF board to decide on releasing loan payments.

Two drawings totaling around $680 million were delayed in late 1996 because of poor tax collections, but Russian officials are saying they are hopeful the IMF board will approve release of at least one of the delayed payments in addition to the scheduled January drawing. The IMF spokeswoman in Washington would not confirm that possibility.

Russian Finance Minister Aleksandr Livshits said yesterday that revenue collection in December was good. He said the real challenge facing the Russian economy is structural reform.