IMF, Iraq in talks on 18-month $5.5 billion program http://www.khaleejtimes.com/darticle...iddleeast&col=
IMF, Iraq in talks on 18-month $5.5 billion program
18 June 2009
WASHINGTON - Iraq has expressed interest in a $5.5 billion International Monetary Fund loan program over 18 months, an IMF spokeswoman said on Wednesday as the sides prepare to flesh out the details in further talks.
The spokeswoman said the issue was raised during economic consultations between Iraqi authorities and IMF staff in Amman, Jordan, last weekend. An Iraqi official said on Monday the standby deal would be for 5 years.
“Further discussions will be held over the coming months to work out the details of a new program and determine the financing that could be provided,” the spokeswoman said.
“The actual access will depend on Iraq’s needs and the strength of a new program, with a final decision resting with the executive board,” she added.
It would be the largest IMF program agreed with the new Iraqi administration, which has had two previous arrangements of less than $1 billion each.
Discussions on an expanded program come amid signs late last year that economic activity is picking up in Iraq as security conditions improve but uncertainty over the upcoming reduction in U.S. troops numbers weighs on investors.
Iraq relies on oil exports for more than 95 percent of state revenues and desperately needs funds to rebuild the country after years of sectarian conflict and insurgency triggered by the 2003 U.S. invasion.
Senior Iraqi central bank advisor Mudher Kasim said on Monday the IMF had presented it proposed conditions for the loan during the talks in Amman, calling for further fiscal reforms, restructuring of state banks and banking sector reform.