Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

IMF Talks Edge Closer to Agreement

A deal between Russia and the International Monetary Fund detailing economic plans for 1997 could be signed this month, a senior Russian minister was quoted as saying Monday.

But Interfax quoted Yevgeny Yasin, minister in charge of Russian economic strategy, as saying that he did not think the deal could be signed during this week's visit to Moscow by IMF managing director Michel Camdessus.

The visit ends April 3.

Camdessus arrived Monday in Moscow for three days of talks with senior officials, including President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. He is scheduled to address students on Wednesday, and give a news conference on Thursday.

Yasin said Russia's problems concerning tax collection and restructuring the economy would be among the toughest issues on Camdessus' agenda. Camdessus was to meet Chernomyrdin on Monday afternoon, and first deputy prime ministers Anatoly Chubais and Boris Nemtsov on Tuesday. Central Bank Chairman Sergei Dubinin was also on his schedule.

The IMF, whose regular monitoring mission was in Moscow last week to prepare for the visit, has delayed several tranches of its $10 billion three-year loan because of low Russian tax receipts.

Likewise, Russian and IMF officials are behind schedule for concluding a 1997 economic program considered to be a prerequisite for future aid from the fund. The program was delayed most recently by Yeltsin's cabinet reshuffle two weeks ago, which saw Chubais and Nemtsov take posts as first deputy prime ministers.

At a meeting last weekend with Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov, IMF officials criticized the performance of the country's tax authorities and described Russian law as providing too many concessions in too many categories, Interfax reported.

Kulikov agreed with the fund's major points, according to the news agency, which included a call for stronger government action against large enterprises.

IMF officials were unavailable for comment Monday.

Russia's newly reshuffled government has also targeted the country's powerful natural monopolies -- including natural gas giant Gazprom and electric company UES -- for restructuring in an effort to revive flagging economic reforms.

Yasin said ministers had already drawn up a draft resolution on reforming natural monopolies, most of them in energy and transportation sectors.

He said the IMF loan was important for the success of Russia's existing and future Eurobond issues, as well as for its bid to join the Paris Club of creditor countries. (Reuters, MT)

Chubais said last week that the IMF loans were becoming less important for Russia. He added, however, that they are still a significant way to attract foreign investment.

Russia, which inherited responsibility for the debts of the former Soviet Union, has reached deals with the Paris Club to reschedule its debts. Moscow is now seeking membership in the Paris Club as a creditor, hoping to make it easier to recover loans extended by the Soviet Union to a host of Third World countries.