IMF launches consultations with Azerbaijan on Article IV

Business Materials 23 February 2010 11:15 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 23 / Trend I.Khalilova / 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has started consultations with the Azerbaijani government under Article IV of the agreement on the "Establishment of the IMF," which will continue until March 3. Consultations are held annually. The IMF mission is headed by IMF Middle East and Central Asia (MCD) Deputy Director section head Nienke Oomes.

She has led a mission to the country since January 2010. In the past two years, her commitments have been entrusted to IMF MCD Deputy Director Valeria Fichera.

During the visit, the mission is expected to hold meetings with the finance and tax ministries, the State Oil Fund, the Central Bank, the State Committee for Securities, the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), the International Bank of Azerbaijan, Kapital Bank and international organizations. The mission also may hold meetings with the State Customs Committee and a number of commercial banks.

The major goal of the visit is to appraise the government's short-term and medium-term tasks on the development prospects of the Azerbaijani economy. Due to the ongoing global financial crisis, the fund's mission may also hold debates on the crisis' influence on the Azerbaijani economy.

The Azerbaijani government has cooperated with the IMF at the level of consultations within Article IV for four years.

At present, the country has no opportunities for resuming borrowing from the fund, despite the global financial crisis. In this regard, the IMF decided to withdraw the head of the Azerbaijani representative office and to reduce the staff office in the country in 2009. The Baku office will be managed by the IMF regional office in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

The decision to close the IMF was announced in the summer during the head of department for Central Asia and the Middle East, David Owen's visit to Baku. Owen substantiated the decision to reduce the costs for the Azerbaijani representation of the IMF due to the country does not need credit resources anymore. Azerbaijan has a sufficiently large surplus in its payments balance. The IMF intends to forward saving funds to those countries that currently receive IMF loans in large amounts.

The IMF mission also plans to hold presentation of the fund for members of the Azerbaijani-American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Feb. 24.

Permanent representation of the IMF in Azerbaijan has been functioning since 1993, but the co-operation with the government started in 1992. The Fund started crediting the country in 1995. Up to now, IMF provided credits to Azerbaijan within six programs, but since 2005, the co-operation with the IMF has been continuing at the level of consultations because the government of Azerbaijan refused to obtain credits from the Fund. Azerbaijan will pay off loans previously borrowed from the Fund until 2013.  In 2010, the Fund will pay loans worth SDR 9.83 million, including SDR 9.66 million in basic debt and SDR 0.18 millions in interest rates.

Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at: [email protected]