IMF Panel Reviews Gov’t Loan Compliance

A delegation from the Inter­national Monetary Fund arrived in Phnom Penh this week to re­view government compliance with the conditions of a $81.6 million loan it granted in 1999.

The seven IMF officials, who arrived Monday, will meet with all government ministries and government reform committees in demobilization, forestry and ad­ministration, Minister of Finance Keat Chhon said Tuesday.

The team will also meet with Prime Minister Hun Sen, scheduled to return today from a summit of Asean leaders, and representatives of the National Bank of Cambodia.

“My point of view is that in general, all the donor countries are very happy with the result of the government’s reform,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting between Cambodian and German government officials, Keat Chhon also made a downward revision to the country’s expected growth rate for 2001, estimated at 6 percent as recently as late August.

With flooding affecting 3 million people, growth is expected to be closer to 5.3 percent, Keat Chhon said.

The government is setting another 6 percent goal for 2002 growth, but Keat Chhon admitted growth next year is more likely to be about 5 percent.

“We will not reach 5 percent unless all government officials clean their hands and work harder,” he said.

Exports of garments and shoes are expected to slow down, as will the numbers of tourists, he said.

In a letter to the IMF late last week, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, an NGO based in New York, urged the IMF team to focus on workers rights, the rule of law and NGO poverty alleviation strategies in its review.



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