IMF praises Serbia's progress in economic development
Serbia has achieved very good progress in macroeconomic stabilization, growth and job creation in 2018, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission said in a statement on Monday at the conclusion of a week-long meeting with Serbian officials, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
The IMF believes that Serbia's economic program continues to yield good results and supports the government's plans for the privatization of the remaining state-owned companies, such as Komercijalna Banka and HIP Petrohemija, IMF mission chief James Roaf said.
The IMF team, which arrived in Serbia on Jan. 29, said that last year's 4.4-percent economic growth was the fastest in more than ten years, and that annual inflation, which stood at 2 percent in December 2018, continued to move within the lower half of the target range.
Representatives of Serbia and the IMF also assessed progress in the implementation of commitments undertaken under the Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI) and the Policy Priorities Agenda for 2019.
"The fiscal results are still good. The general government level recorded a fiscal surplus of 0.6 percent of GDP in 2018, in line with the objectives of the PCI advisory program, and public debt fell to around 54 percent of GDP," Roaf said.
He said that further improvement in labor market participation is supported by "very good employment growth and unemployment figures", and highlighted the importance of making further progress in preparations to ensure the implementation of the new public sector wage system in 2020 and the transition to a more flexible framework for employment in the public sector.
"We discussed options to strengthen fiscal rules, including the reintroduction of pension indexation in 2020," Roaf said.
He also pointed to the importance of improving the management of public and state enterprises in order to increase the efficiency and quality of public services, stating that they supported the authorities' quest for improving the prioritization and assessment of public investments.