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Basa-Press News Agency:
Interview with Hassan Al-Atrash, Resident Representative of the
International Monetary Fund to Moldova



The relations of the Republic of Moldova with the International Monetary 
Fund (IMF) are presently at a critical juncture. The actions that will be taken 
by the Government in the next several weeks and months will be
important in determining whether IMF lending will be resumed in
2001, considers the Resident Representative of the IMF in Chisinau,
Hassan Al-Atrash.

The IMF Resident Representative says that the program of the new
government contains provisions that may be inconsistent with the
memorandum signed at the end of last year with the IMF. Moreover,
there are contradictions in the government's economic program. As
a consequence, the IMF will wait for concrete actions of the
Government in order to understand what are the policies that are
going to be promoted by the new leadership and decide whether to
continue or not crediting the Republic of Moldova.

"At the moment we can not say that IMF financing has been
interrupted. If the Government follows policies that are
inconsistent with earlier understandings, this could impact IMF
lending. Along with the interruption of IMF crediting, other
foreign credit ing could be interrupted, so we can easily come to a
situation where by the end of the year Moldova will not get any
foreign financing at all", said Mr. Al-Atrash.

According to him, the meetings of the recent IMF mission with
Moldova's leadership have been very good. At the same time, there
were reports in the press by officials that are "cause for
concern". That is why we do not know exactly what are the real inte
ntions and what direction will it go. The important point is that
we are ready to cooperate with the authorities, but we need to see
what policies are going to be promoted", mentioned the IMF Resident

Al-Atrash appreciated the economic program of the Government
installed by the communist majority as containing some positive
measures - a bigger stress on the fight against corruption and
smuggling, maintaining low inflation and improving the fiscal
system, and elimination of the extra-budgetary funds. Still, there
are provisions inconsistent with the Memorandum - price control on
some goods, trade restrictions in order to protect the local
producers, possible restoration of monopolies on tobacco and al
cohol, and introduction of privileges in energy.

Hassan Al-Atrash said that in case of no foreign financing the
budget will have to be revised drastically and a big part of
expenditures reduced. It could be difficult for the Republic of
Moldova to obtain an agreement of foreign debt restructuring in the
Paris Club, where the first condition is to have a program with
the IMF. In the next two years the external commitments of the
Republic of Moldova will equal to over 50 percent of the budget

The visit of the IMF mission in Chisinau that ended recently, did
not result in a new tranche of 12 million dollars of the credit
extended under the PRGF because the focus of the mission was to
discuss general policy in the period ahead. An IMF mission is exp
ected to return when the Government fulfills measures earlier
agreed to.

Agentia de presa "Basa-Press":
Interviu cu Hassan Al-Atrash, reprezentantul permanent al Fondului Monetar International in Moldova 



Relatiile Republicii Moldova cu Fondului Monetar International (FMI) trec in prezent printr-un moment critic. Definitorii pentru reluarea in 2001 a creditarii din partea FMI vor fi actiunile intreprinse de Guvern in urmatoarele cateva saptamani si luni, considera reprezentantul permanent la Chisinau al FMI, Hassan Al-Atrash.

Rezidentul FMI sustine ca programul noului Guvern contine prevederi ce ar putea fi incompatibile cu Memorandumul semnat la sfarsitul anului trecut cu FMI. In plus, exista contradictii in programul de reforme economice al Guvernului. In consecinta, FMI va astepta actiunile concrete ale Guvernului pentru a intelege care vor fi politicile promovate de noua conducere si a decide daca va fi continuata sau nu creditarea R.Moldova.

"Deocamdata nu putem spune ca finantarea din partea FMI a fost intrerupta. Daca Guvernul va urma politice ce sunt incompatibile cu intelegerile anterioare, aceasta ar putea influenta creditarea din partea FMI. Odata cu sistarea creditelor din partea Fondului, ar putea fi intrerupta si alta creditare externa, astfel incat se poate ajunge usor la situatia in care pana la sfarsitul anului R.Moldova nu va mai primi in genere nici un fel de finantare externa", a spus Al-Atrash.

Potrivit oficialului, intalnirile avute de recenta Misiune a FMI cu conducerea R.Moldova au fost foarte bune. In acelati timp, presa a difuzat unele afirmatii ale oficialitatilor care "ne pun in garda". "De aceea nu stim exact care sunt adevaratele intentii si in ce directie se va merge. Ideea importanta este ca noi suntem gata sa conlucram cu autoritatile, dar trebuie sa vedem care vor fi totusi politicile promovate", a mentionat rezidentul FMI.

Al-Atrash a apreciat ca programul economic al Guvernului instalat de majoritatea comunista contine unele masuri pozitive - un accent mai mare asupra luptei cu coruptia si cu contrabanda, mentinerea inflatii joase si imbanatatirea sistemului fiscal, eliminarea fondurilor extrabugetare. Cu toate acestea, exista prevederi incompatibile cu Memorandumul - controlul preturilor la unele marfuri, restrictiile de comert in scopul protejarii producatorilor locali, restabilirea posibila a monopolurilor la tutun si alcool, si introducerea de preferinte cu referinta la sectorul energetic.

Hassan Al-Atrash a spus ca in lipsa finantarii externe bugetul va trebui sa fie revizuit drastic si o buna parte din cheltuieli va fi redusa. Ar putea fi dificil pentru R.Moldova sa obtina un acord de restructurare a datoriei externe prin clubul de la Paris, unde prima conditie este derularea unui program cu FMI. In urmatorii doi ani angajamentele externe ale R.Moldova ajuse la scadenta vor echivala cu peste 50 % din veniturile bugetare.

Vizita Misiunii FMI la Chisinau, incheiata recent, nu s-a soldat cu alocarea urmatoarei transe de 12 milioane dolari din creditul pentru reducerea saraciei pe motiv ca obiectivul misiunii a fost de a discuta politica generala pentru perioada urmatoare. Misiunea urmatoare a FMI va veni la momentul cand Guvernul va indeplini masurile convenite anterior.