Business World

Tuesday 19 November 2019

IMF notes Greek efforts on revamp

Thomas Molloy

THE team that monitors Greece for the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Ajai Chopra has given a thumbs-up to Greek efforts to restructure the economy following last year's bailout.

In the third report since the Greek bailout last May, the IMF said Greece has made further progress towards its objectives while the underlying fiscal and broader reforms necessary to deliver the programme's medium-term objectives are gradually being put in place.

Despite this largely benign description, the IMF found major reforms still need to be designed and implemented to "build a critical mass" necessary to secure fiscal sustainability and economic recovery.

The IMF will compile a similar report on the Irish Government's progress next month following our bailout in late November.

IMF officials have drawn up a long to-do list with deadlines for each item on the list.

The review will chart the country's progress on key issues such as the recapitalisation of the country's banks, which was due to be completed last month but won't be completed until the end of this month at the earliest. Failure to implement reforms in a timely manner could lead to the IMF stopping access to funds.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Sunday his government must redouble its efforts to solve its economic problems and overcome the debt crisis that has shaken the eurozone.

He was speaking after eurozone leaders agreed on Saturday to lower the interest rate and extend the maturity of €110bn of loans to Greece. In turn, Greece promised to speed up structural reforms, complete a €50bn state assets sale plan and introduce a strict fiscal framework to rein in its budget deficit and debt.

Greece has met "all performance criteria", and key labour market, service market, and business environment reforms are advancing, the report says.

Despite this praise, the IMF found Greece had failed to implement all the requested changes to the country's collective bargaining system and public sector pay, yesterday's report found.

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