IMF Director Calls for Continued Reforms

In a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on Monday, visiting International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde praised Cambodia’s economic growth but called for continued reforms to preserve macroeconomic stability, according to an aide to the prime minister.

“[Ms. Lagarde] said the IMF predicted a bright future for Cambodia’s economic growth,” Eang Sophalleth, Mr. Hun Sen’s personal assistant, said. “Cambodia will have high [annual] economic growth at 7 percent.”

Ms. Lagarde also “encouraged the continued implementation of reforms,” according to Mr. Sophalleth, who declined to say what specific reforms she suggested.

While the IMF’s Cambodia resident coordinator declined to comment on the content of Ms. Lagarde’s onehour conversation with Mr. Hun Sen, Mr. Sophalleth claimed she had also congratulated the prime minister on the victory of the CPP in July’s election.

For his part, Mr. Hun Sen thanked the IMF for its support in implementing economic reforms in 2008 that helped Cambodia “prevail over the financial crisis,” Mr. Sophalleth said.

In a report following the IMF’s annual mission to Cambodia in November, representatives of the fund encouraged the government to raise the wages of civil servants, create a more efficient taxation system, enhance regulatory supervision to contain credit growth and improve coordination of supervisory agencies to “improve readiness to respond to potential shocks” and ensure that the real estate market does not overheat.

Following her meeting with Mr. Hun Sen, Ms. Lagarde’s schedule Monday included an audience with King Norodom Sihamoni at the Royal Palace and meetings with members of economic think tanks and female business leaders. She was also slated to visit the National Museum and the Tuol Sleng genocide museum.

This morning, Ms. Lagarde is scheduled to deliver a lecture to students at the Royal School of Administration about the future of Cambodia’s economy before leaving for the remainder of her Asia tour, in which she will also visit Burma and South Korea.

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