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TMCNet:  Roundup: IMF voices support for Myanmar gov't policies

[February 07, 2013]

Roundup: IMF voices support for Myanmar gov't policies

YANGON, Feb 07, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) voiced support for Myanmar government's policies, saying that in coordination with other development partners, it is assisting the government in implementing them.
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According to official media, IMF Mission Chiefs to Myanmar Anoop Singh and Matt Davies have revealed plan of enhancing its capacity building program including through increased support from the regional technical assistance office, further disclosing that IMF has intention to open a representative office in Myanmar.

IMF vowed to work closely in all of these areas with other development partners, offering to assist Myanmar develop and implement the policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and strengthen reform under the Staff Monitored Program (SMP).

In light of bearing fruit with Myanmar's reform, the IMF chiefs estimated that the growth of the country will accelerate to around 6.25 percent in the fiscal year 2012-13, bolstered by foreign investment in natural resources and export of commodities.

"Inflation has declined rapidly and should remain moderate at around 6 percent next year," the IMF mission chiefs predicted.

Acknowledging that Myanmar's exchange rate has been stable in recent months with international reserve increasing to 4 billion U. S. dollars, However, the IMF chiefs pointed out that a key element of maintaining financial stability is ensuring that policies are credible and enjoy the confidence of the population.

Stressing the need for the reform to be designed in a structured and sequence manner, to be transparently communicated to a wide range of stakeholders who should be given the opportunity to contribute to policy development, the IMF chiefs maintained that open monitoring of progress is also needed so that the public and the private sector can observe success and adjust to any slippages in the reform process.

Myanmar could reduce international debt of over 6 billion U.S.

dollars including that with Norway and Japan after successfully coordinating with major creditor countries of the Paris Club in January.

Myanmar claimed on Jan. 30 clearing of its debt of 502.457 billion yens (over 5 billion dollars) owed to Japan since 1970 after settlement of the remaining debt of 198.881 billion yens ( nearly 2 billion U.S. dollars). That part of the arrears of 303.

576 billion yens (over 3 billion dollars) was announced by Japan that it will be written off within one year period in support of democratization and national reconciliation efforts as well as economic and social reform process of the Myanmar government.

As a follow-up, the Japanese government announced that it would take steps to offer very-low-interest rate development loan and assistance to Myanmar which will use in people-centered development.

Meanwhile, Myanmar has also settled 512 million dollars' debt owed to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and 430 million dollars owed to the World Bank by taking out the amounts from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) on Jan. 25 and paid back to the two creditors.

Obtaining new loans of the same amount from the two creditors on the same day, Myanmar finally settled the debt by paying off the bridge loan to JBIC.

ADB announced that it will assist in Myanmar's infrastructural development in terms of technology, finance, communication and sustainable energy, while the World Bank declared that it will support Myanmar with 80 million dollars in carrying out national community-driven development project for infrastructural development in agricultural sector, roads, health centers and schools of 640 villages across the country.

The Myanmar government's economic reform program is supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with a Staff Monitored Program (SMP) currently providing a framework for cooperation between the Myanmar government.

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