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Bulgaria: Agreement Reached With IMF On Finance Board

Sofia, 17 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Bulgaria has reached a tentative agreement with key representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to create a national finance board with power to introduce tough austerity measures to rescue the economy.

Prime Minister Stefan Sofiyanski and the head of an IMF mission to Bulgaria, Anne McGuirk, anounced in Sofia today plans by the IMF to provide Bulgaria with credits totaling about $700 million. The accord still needs formal IMF approvement.

At a news conference, Finance Minister Svetoslav Gavriyski said the program would allow Bulgaria to continue servicing its $10 billion dollar a year foreign debt. Gavriyski also said he expects a "drastic" drop in inflation in March to below 50 percent on a monthly basis.

The finance board is be set up in Bulgaria before the end of June. RFE/RL's correspondent in Sofia reports the anticipated loan is expected to be delivered in seven or eight installments.