Press Release No. 09/419
November 19, 2009
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Mr. Chris Jarvis, visited Minsk during November 10-19, 2009 to hold discussions with the Belarusian authorities as part of the third review of the country's Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). At the conclusion of the visit, Mr. Jarvis issued the following statement:
"An IMF staff mission and the Belarusian authorities have reached agreement, subject to approval by the IMF Executive Board, on the completion of the third review of the SBA with Belarus. The third review would be considered by the IMF Executive Board in late- December. Upon completion of the review, an amount of SDR 437.93 million (close to US$700 million) would become available for disbursement.
"Performance under the economic program supported by the SBA has been good. All end-September performance criteria and structural benchmarks were met. The agreement reached on the macroeconomic framework for 2010 would help achieving program objectives. Prudent fiscal and monetary policies would narrow the current account deficit and bring inflation to single digits. Monetary policy would continue to support the credibility of the exchange rate regime. Disciplined wage policy would improve Belarus's competitiveness and prospects for economic growth, as the global economy returns to growth. Social policies aim at providing adequate social safety to the most vulnerable groups of population.
"The mission and the authorities also discussed the issues that would strengthen the financial system and the independence of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. Consultations on the focus and the sequence of structural reforms could form the basis for a follow-up program after the expiration of the current program in April 2010."
The 15-month, SDR 1.62 billion (about US$2.46 billion) arrangement was approved by the IMF Executive Board on January 12, 2009 (see Press Release No. 09/05). On June 29, 2009, the IMF financial support under the SBA was increased to SDR2.27 billion (about US$3.52 billion) (see Press release No. 09/241).