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IMF promises money. But not earlier than in autumn

InfoMarket.MD News Agency comment

The long waited mission of IMF, which came to Moldova 10 days ago, has completed its task. The head of the mission looked very tired and did not hide it during the press conference, dedicated to the results of the visit. He said that it took him much time to explain his point of view to the new government of Moldova.

The main result of the IMF mission was the announcement that the organization is ready to restart the external financing of Moldova, suspended in the beginning of the year.  At least, according to the words of Richard Haas, the mission and the government have agreed on many questions, and we have reason to suppose that soon new credit tranche will be granted.

As Richard Haas mentioned, in order to gain the credit, government will have to fulfill the conditions of the Memorandum, elaborated by the Bragish government and approved by the IMF board of directors last year in December. Besides, the present cabinet of ministers is also supposed to follow the articles of the new supplement of the Memorandum, which is the result of hard work of the IMF and government experts.

Both Richard Haas and Vasilii Tarlev did not wish to answer the question about the contents of the supplement. The head of the IMF mission only mentioned that the supplement stipulates for the concrete actions, which the government is obliged to undertake in the macroeconomic and fiscal policy during the next 12 months. After the supplement is discussed and approved by the IMF board of directors, the document will be published. 

As Richard Haas believes, the conditions, included into the Memorandum and supplement, will certainly be implemented by the government, and one more visit if the IMF mission in order to take the final decision will not be necessary, as Moldavian mass-media has informed before. Only small IMF technical group can come to Chisinau for more precise definition of some details. Probably these experts will take part in the elaboration of the budget for the year 2002, as Richard Haas said.  The head of the IMF mission could not stop praising the economic situation in Moldova. He said that according to the results of the year 2000 the Domestic Gross Product of the country has increased by 2%, and in the current year could increase by 5%. Moreover, the level of inflation made 9%, and the lei-dollar exchange rate corresponds with these indices. Haas has also positively spoken of the conservative monetary policy, carried out by the National Bank of the country.  

The IMF representative has carefully and a bit not surely said about his support of the administration’s possible desire to change the administrative-territorial system of Moldova. According to his words, the concept of uyezd is good, but it can be improved, in the sort of phrase: “there is no limit for perfection”.  At the same time Haas thinks that it is desirable to consult with foreign experts, namely with the World Bank representatives, about the elaboration of new territorial reforms. It can mean that, in exchange for the World Bank money the administrative-territorial reform, which is the creation of the international organizations, will not undergo essential reconsideration. Haas also informed about the IMF readiness to assist Moldova in the restructuring of the external debts, by means of the Paris Club. 

However, the revival of contracts with IMF, implies it itself. As we know, the external financing of Moldova by the IMF was suspended in the beginning of the year 2001, exactly after the communist party won the extraordinary parliament elections. In the December 2000 the IMF board of directors approved the allocation of $142 million to the country within the framework of the program for the poverty prevention. These funds were divided into tranches, which amounted to $12 million each, which were supposed to be granted quarterly. Until the present time Moldova has gained $24 million within the framework of this program. If everything goes right, Moldova will receive next tranche in October-November of the current year. The complaisance of the International Monetary Fund is intriguing, as the negotiations between the IMF and the government were held in the conditions of secrecy.  It is not known yet, which concessions the cabinet of ministers of Moldova consented to, in order to enlist the support of the Fund. These concessions can be either the conditions of privatization of the strategic branches, or its terms. However, the administration of Moldova has no choice. In the year 2002 country will have to pay out more than $170 million of the external debts, which makes approximately half of the statistical average of the budget of the Republic. In such clutches, “a step to the left or to the right is considered as an attempt to escape, and a jump  - as desire to fly away.” On another hand, the administration of IMF should realize, that the financial blockage of Moldova would not bring big economic or politic interests to the West. It is necessary to understand, that West decided to give chance to Moldova to show its worth… in exchange for the money.