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Bulgaria: IMF Mission Will Not Arrive For At Least A Week

Washington, 13 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - International Monetary Fund officials in Washington say it will be a week or more before a group of IMF experts and officials travels to Sofia to start work with the new interim government.

The IMF has agreed to help the interim government begin working on the economic reform and financial measures that will be necessary to turn-around Bulgaria's shattered economy, including the fund's proposal for the adoption of a currency board form of central bank.

The fund suspended a stand-by loan of about 582 million dollars for Bulgaria last autumn because the country's economy had deteriorated. Bulgaria had been able to draw only the first tranche of about 116 million dollars before the loan was frozen.

In the meantime, a team of tax administration experts from the IMF will arrive in Sofia within the next two days. It will immediately start work on reforms urgently required if the government's revenue collections are to be supportive of a market system and able to provide the needed money for public functions.