International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission chief Jan Kees Martijn said on Monday that the Fund will not lower its planned growth for Serbia in 2019, adding that the country can reach a growth of 3.5 percent this year, while an opposition leader sent an open letter to Martijan asking him until when the IMF would praise Serbia's economy which had the lowest growth in the region, the news agencies reported.
Speaking during a meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Martijn said that the reforms being implemented by the government are good and that planned activities are being implemented on schedule, a government statement said.
Later on Monday, in an open letter to Martijn, an opposition leader and former Belgrade Mayor Dragan Djilas asked “until when will the IMF support the economic policy of the (Serbia’s) regime which has the lowest growth in the region, brings population to the verge of poverty and causes half a million young people to leave the country.”
Djilas called on the IMF to “stop the colonial attitude” towards Serbia’s people who, as he said, “can stand a lot but will in the end react as the people in Ecuador who have raised against the economic measures which deprive them of their rights and make them poorer, and which the IMF supports.”
It added that Brnabic and Martijn discussed the Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI) which Serbia has with the IMF and agreed that the so-called Swiss Formula is a good model to raise pensions as of January 1, 2020. The non-financial PCI arrangement was approved on July 2018 and will remain in place until January 2021.
Martijn has praised the reforms of the Tax Authority, the search for a strategic partner for the Komercijalna Bank and the forming of a new Financial Risks Sector in the Finance Ministry.
Brnabic is quoted as saying that she is certain that a growth of 3.5 percent will be achieved because the country’s industry has been recovering and high growth is expected in the last two quarters of the year.
She voiced concern over the global economic slowdown, adding that the economic situation in Germany and Italy could affect Serbia as the country’s biggest foreign trade partners. She said new factories are expected to be opened next year when a growth rate of four percent is a realistic option.
Brnabic said that the IT industry is vital in terms of exports.