Sabtu, 03 Oktober 2009

IMF 'confident' on loan to Iraq
Iraq has said it is seeking a $5.5bn IMF programme over 18 months. (AFP)
By Agencies on Sunday, October 04, 2009

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday said it was "confident" about agreeing a loan with Iraq, which is seeking $7 billion (Dh25.7bn) to cover its budget deficit.

"I am confident that we're working well together and we'll be able to identify ways to help them," Masood Ahmed, the IMF's Middle East director, told reporters in Istanbul during annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. "Exactly how and when is what we need to know," he added.

The financial shortfall in Iraq's budget comes at a difficult time for Iraq as the nation of 29 million people struggles to emerge from a brutal sectarian conflict triggered by the 2003 US-led invasion.

A senior advisor to Iraq's central bank said he was "not sure" that Iraq could meet IMF conditions for a $5.5bn loan, reported Emerging Markets magazine yesterday.

Iraq has said it is seeking a $5.5bn IMF programme over 18 months, which would be the largest IMF financing pact with the new Iraq administration. There have been two previous IMF arrangements of less than $1bn each.

Mudher Salim Kassim, senior advisor to the Iraqi central bank, said it would take a long time for any agreement to be reached with the IMF. "Iraq is still in transition," Kassim said. "The security situation sometimes turns upside down, so it is difficult to decide things," Kassim said.

Iraq relies on oil exports for more than 95 per cent of state revenues and needs funds to rebuild the country.

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