CNB Governor Dr Marko Škreb and Finance Minister Borislav Škegro visited the IMF and the World Bank

Published: 12/4/1999

During the last week visit to Washington, dr. Marko Skreb, Governor of the Croatian National Bank, and Mr. Borislav Skegro, Vice-President of the Croatian Government and the Finance Minister of the Republic of Croatia, had a number of meetings with the officials of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The possibilities for further cooperation with these most important international financial institutions, as well as for obtaining financial support from them in changed international circumstances were major topics discussed in the IMF with Mr. Stanley Fisher, First Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Michael Deppler, Director of the European I Department, Mr. Hans Flickenschield, Advisor and Chief of the Mission for Croatia, and his colleagues. The same issues were main topics of discussion with the representatives of the World Bank: Mr. Johannes Linn, Vice-President for Europe and Middle Asia, Ms. Arntraud Hartmann, Regional Director, also in charge of Croatia, and their colleagues. The members of the Croatian delegation also visited the US Department of Treasury where they met with Mr. Edwin Truman, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs.

The discussions concentrated primarily on economic conditions in Croatia, as well as on the effects of the NATO intervention in the neighboring Yugoslavia on the Croatian economy. The representatives of international financial institutions were especially interested in the consolidation of the Croatian government budget and extrabudgetary funds, in indicators related to the balance of payments and the sustainability of the exchange rate. They also expressed interest in other issues relevant to internal economic and political stability and international position of Croatia.

The discussions with the IMF and the World Bank are to be continued at the end of April this year at the Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which are to be attended by Croatian officials as well. It is expected that on the occasion of the Meeting fundamental principles acceptable to both parties could be agreed upon, thus constituting a basis for further negotiations. The negotiations would take place after the Spring Meeting, when an IMF Mission is expected in Croatia. The Mission would concentrate on issues relevant for providing Croatia with new financial facilities. The facilities have to be approved by the IMF Executive Board, consequently. In recent discussions both parties expressed interest in achieving an agreement in the shortest possible period of time allowed by the current regulation.

As far as the cooperation with the IMF is concerned, Croatia would probably prefer a new stand-by arrangement, which would provide fast and effective support to the further maintenance of the macroeconomic stability: the stability of the exchange rate has to be preserved and the international reserves strengthened despite the effects of the NATO-intervention in Yugoslavia on the balance of payments and the expected foreign currency inflow. As far as the World Bank programs are concerned, a number of projects within the EFSAL is already being realized in Croatia. The subject of current discussions are additional possibilities for obtaining some other forms of the World Bank's support for the government budget, primarily for budgetary resources earmarked for the restructuring and strengthening of the banking sector.