THE Troika has warned that the Budget must be strictly implemented this year – including in the health sector – and that more could be done to tackle unemployment which is running at 14pc.
In a brief joint statement following its tenth review mission, the EU/ECB/IMF said the bailout programme remains on track and that gradual recovery is continuing.
While stating growth needs to pick up to boost employment, it said further efforts are important to help tackle it.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin said we continue to meet our targets.
“Significant progress was made during the first quarter of 2013 in restoring order to our public finances, returning the economy to growth and reducing the overall cost to the taxpayer from the banking and programme related debt,” the ministers said.
“The completion of the Q1 2013 programme conditions brings to over 200 the number of commitments that have been fulfilled on time and we have now drawn down some 85pc of the available funding."
Staff teams visited Dublin between April 23 and May 2. The 11th review mission will take place in July.
The teams pointed to “remaining challenges” that require continuing policy efforts.
It said the funding conditions for the banks had improved and that the normalisation of the financial sector was returning with the “smooth” phase out of the bank guarantee for deposits over €100,000.
But they said: “The strict implementation of Budget 2013 measures, including in the health sector, is essential to meet the government’s commitment to a 2013 deficit ceiling of 7.5pc of GDP.”
They also pointed out that further progress by banks in resolving unsustainable SME debts was needed to boost job creation.
“While a pick-up in growth is needed to meaningfully reduce high unemployment, further policy efforts are important to address its increasingly structural nature,” it said.