IMF says Belarus should toughen lending policy

MINSK, Sept 3 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday it has asked Belarus to toughen its lending policy, but that the government is meeting the conditions of its standby loan programme in a satisfactory manner.

The IMF, whose mission on Wednesday finished a visit to Minsk to discuss the allocation of further funds from the $3.5 billion loan, said in a statement the economic policy Belarus conducts follows the directives given in the loan agreement.

'All key criteria for the programme's implementation, given at the end of June, have been met,' the IMF said.

The fund praised the government's efforts to create a privatisation agency, which would speed up the process of selling state-run entities to increase federal revenues.

The IMF, which recommended the rouble devaluation that took place at the start of the year as well as cuts in federal spending, also directed the government to be cautious in its lending policy to preserve the country's currency reserves.

'The mission and the authorities have agreed to toughen the credit policy to slow down domestic demand, as well as improve the balance of payment of Belarus,' it said.

Belarus has already received $1.5 billion from the IMF since the beginning of the year and expects the remaining money in three tranches of about $678 million each by the end of next summer.

(Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky, writing by Lidia Kelly, editing by Victoria Main) Keywords: BELARUS/IMF



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