November 9, 2017 / 8:59 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-IMF urges Belarus to speed up reforms for faster growth

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MINSK, Nov 9 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund expects average economic growth in Belarus to remain around 2 percent annually over the next few years if its suggested reforms are not implemented, the head of an IMF mission to Minsk said on Thursday.

Negotiations with the Fund for a $3 billion loan stalled this year over disagreement with Belarussian authorities on the timetable for proposed reform of state-owned companies, the IMF’s Peter Dohlman told journalists.

The IMF has raised its forecast for gross domestic product growth this year to 1.7 percent from 0.7 percent and expects growth to average about 2 percent over the next few years.

“If more robust economy policy were conducted, economic growth could jump to 4 percent in the medium term,” Dohlman said.

Among its recommendations, the IMF believes the authorities should cut funding to loss-making state-owned companies and raise tariffs for household utilities.

The IMF’s last loan to Belarus totalled $3.5 billion and was disbursed in 2009-2010. (Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Larry King)

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