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Gianni De Nicoló,, Sami Geadah,, and Mr. Dmitriy L Rozhkov

This paper describes why the international community needs to act now to stand a chance of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The paper gives example of Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world, with an estimated per capita income of about US$100. According to the World Bank, recent national household surveys find 44 percent of the people in Ethiopia cannot meet basic needs. The paper discusses that Ethiopia in many ways epitomizes why the MDGs are important and why more money is needed to achieve them.

International Monetary Fund

This paper discusses the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s Second Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement and Request for Waiver of Performance Criteria and Rephasing of the Program. The 2007 fiscal deficit target increased modestly to 1 percent of GDP. Taxes were cut and budget quality improved, but there remain fiscal risks, in particular in delivering the planned reduction in transfers and subsidies. Over the medium term, the government aims to keep the fiscal deficit below 1½ percent of GDP, cutting overall government spending by 2 percent of GDP while raising public investment.

International Monetary Fund

In this study, economic recovery and growth of Macedonia are discussed. In the financial sector, nonperforming loans (NPLs) rose, and bank profitability declined as a result of the crisis. Executive Directors agreed with the thrust of the staff appraisal. Directors were encouraged by the overall healthy condition of the financial system. The need to accelerate structural reforms and strengthen public infrastructure to raise productivity and help reduce high unemployment is encouraged. Macedonia met the Precautionary Credit Line (PCL) qualification requirements.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Before the iron curtain fell, most firms in Central and Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union either were owned by the state or were socially owned. Their behavior was driven by political and social considerations, such as achieving employment targets, rather than by profit-maximizing considerations. Changing the structure of incentives in which enterprises operate is a necessary condition for the successful transition to a market economy. This article, based on a Working Paper by Juan Zalduendo, Senior Economist in the IMF’s Policy Development and Review Department, examines the performance of firms in the former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia, comparing the performance of firms created following privatization (new firms) with that of firms that predated the transition (surviving or old firms).

International Monetary Fund

The economy of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia suffered a setback owing to the Kosovo crisis. The impact of the crisis, however, was less severe. Inflation remained low, the balance-of-payments position and the fiscal situation improved, and indicators of external vulnerability remained satisfactory. The National Bank of Macedonia faced contrasting challenges in the conduct of monetary policy. The pace of structural reforms picked up and a value-added tax was introduced. However, structural weaknesses in the financial system have prevented a more vigorous economic recovery.

International Monetary Fund

The economy of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia suffered a setback owing to the Kosovo crisis. The impact of the crisis, however, was less severe. Inflation remained low, the balance-of-payments position and the fiscal situation improved, and indicators of external vulnerability remained satisfactory. The National Bank of Macedonia faced contrasting challenges in the conduct of monetary policy. The pace of structural reforms picked up and a value-added tax was introduced. However, structural weaknesses in the financial system have prevented a more vigorous economic recovery.

International Monetary Fund

The staff report for the Second Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement on the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia highlights economic developments and policies. FYR of Macedonia’s economic performance since independence has been marked by notable achievements in macroeconomic management, as well as some disappointments in the area of structural reforms. Inflation was brought down from hyperinflation levels to the low single digits by the de facto exchange rate peg, which was sustained in spite of sometimes challenging circumstances.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

The Macedonian labor market exhibits a high unemployment rate, yet does not demonstrate obvious and large enough constraints on the demand or supply side. Considerable achievements can be made by maintaining macroeconomic stability, attracting FDI, and closing the educational gaps. The second paper assesses ways in which the Macedonian financial sector could better contribute to growth and real convergence, taking stock of where the sector stands and its recent developments. Streamlining bankruptcy procedures, improving collateral and systematic collection and publication of real estate sales data, and revisiting the interest rate cap may serve to moderately boost credit supply.

International Monetary Fund

The paper analyzes the export performance and external competitiveness in FYR Macedonia. It describes the trends in the account balance, external vulnerabilities, and different approaches to estimate the equilibrium real exchange rate; and reviews economic growth experience and prospects and reveals areas of weakness. It also discusses many different factors responsible for Macedonia's high unemployment rate and examines the main factors behind the low level of intermediation.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
KEY ISSUES The jobs and growth agenda should remain a top policy priority, with efforts focused on relaxing key constraints for domestic firms. Priorities include properly implementing and monitoring recent initiatives to enforce payment discipline in both public and private sector contracts, as well as upgrading the professional status of inspection bodies, clarifying their mandate, and streamlining their work. The public-sector led growth strategy will put pressure on other types of spending if consolidation is to proceed in the current low-tax environment. Investment spending should target gaps in transport and energy infrastructure to maximize the payoff for medium-term growth. At the same time, with public debt rising steadily to over 50 percent of GDP by 2017, fiscal policy should aim at reducing the deficit to below 2.6 percent of GDP by 2016. In the absence of further tax policy changes to boost revenues, a comprehensive spending review that seeks to minimize the growth impact of current expenditure compression should therefore be undertaken. More comprehensive public debt management is needed to support external sustainability. To further reduce risks, particularly currency risk, the strategy should be expanded to cover the debt of SOEs and contingent liabilities. Increased reliance on foreign currency borrowing also has important implications for central bank reserve developments and domestic liquidity that should be taken into account in evaluating government financing options. The monetary easing cycle has reached its end. The combination of relaxed financial conditions and tight prudential regulation has helped revive credit growth while preserving the health of the financial sector. While temporary supply-side developments have recently generated deflationary pressures, the focus of monetary policy henceforth should be on maintaining the attractiveness of holding denar-denominated assets in support of the exchange rate peg. Outstanding credit is scheduled to fall below 200 percent of quota at end-year. The external position and capacity to pay are sufficiently strong to allow for a cessation of post-program monitoring.