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Estonia: IMF Discussing Follow-up Loan

Washington, 10 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - The IMF and Estonia are discussing a follow-up stand-by loan to the over $18 million program Tallinn had in place this past year but did not use.

A spokesperson at International Monetary Fund headquarters said a fund delegation has been reviewing the situation with Estonian officials, but that no final decision has yet been taken.

Estonia, among the more advanced countries in transition, took out the stand-by loan in July 1996 to have programs of economic reform and stabilization with the IMF in place. Estonian officials said they had no intention of drawing any of the loan.

The ETA news agency quotes Ardo Hansson, economic advisor to the Estonian Prime Minister, as saying there was some disagreement over some of the targets discussed with the IMF mission, including the size of the planned budget surplus for 1998.

ETA quoted Hansson as saying the IMF officials recommended more belt tightening by the government. He said there was agreement on continued privatization, land reform, pension and public sector reforms.