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The International Monetary Fund approves €550-million loan for Bosnia to improve the business climate


The International Monetary Fund said Tuesday it had approved a new loan to Bosnia worth 550 million euros ($613 million) to help it carry out economic reforms sought by the European Union.
The reforms are intended to improve the business climate in the Balkan country, resume the privatisation and restructuring of public enterprises, and slow down a rise in public debt.
The IMF said in a statement that its mission in Sarajevo had reached an agreement with Bosnian authorities on an economic programme to be supported by a 36-month loan.
The loan has yet to be approved by the IMF Executive Board, with the green light not expected until July.
"The economy is showing firmer signs of recovery. Growth is expected to reach 3.0 percent this year... but vulnerabilities remain," the IMF said.


EU membership is a major political objective for Bosnia, and under pressure from Brussels it launched economic reforms last year, notably on the labour market, hoping to cut a jobless rate that has exceeded 40 percent.
The IMF deal "will play a catalytic role in mobilising international financial assistance. The European Union and the World Bank are planning to also provide additional financing," the Washington-based lender said.
Bosnia's public debt rose from 3.9 billion euros in 2010 to 6.1 billion euros at the end of 2015, equivalent to 39.5 percent of GDP, according to official figures.
Loan repayments in 2016 represent more than a third of Bosnia's central and regional governments' budget.

WB

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