IMF Officials Visit for Brief Set of Talks

Executive directors from the International Monetary Fund made a stopover in Cambodia last week to talk to people involved in the country’s development.

Their goal was not to assess Cambodia’s progress in meeting conditions of the IMF’s three-year, $81.6-million loan package to the country, they said.

This will be done beginning Nov 5 by a team of IMF experts, who will conduct Cambodia’s Fourth Review as part of the Fund’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility program. The experts will also look at the government’s 2002 budget, IMF Country Representative Mario de Zamaroczy said.

Field visits are an opportunity for IMF executive directors to get a sense of what is happening in individual countries, said Mission Head J de Beaufort Wijnholds. Each director handles programs in more than 10 countries.

The seven officials, who arrived Wednesday from Siem Reap and left Saturday for Vietnam, met with Minister of Cabinet Sok An and Finance Minister Keat Chhon, Finance and Banking Commission members at the National Assembly, and banking, private sector and NGO representatives. There was no need for extra talks in Cambodia, de Beaufort Wijnholds said.

“I would not call the Cam­bo­dian case at the moment contentious. Cambodia has done good considering where it came from,” he said.

Still, in the report on Cam­bo­dia’s Third Review, which was held in April and May, IMF ex­perts said the government must make a stronger effort to “build basic economic institutions, improve governance and reduce pervasive poverty.”

Increasing government revenues through forestry-concession and tax programs, civil service reform and demobilization remain basic loan requirements the IMF will monitor, they said.

The IMF loan for 1999-2002 is handed over to Cambodia in installments. The Third Review report led the bank to disburse $10.8 million to the government in July.

 

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