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IMF Mission in Bulgaria Kicks Off

Date: 12.10.2005

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission in Bulgaria kicks off on Thursday.

During the two weeks of the Mission the IMF experts will make a second review of the implementation of Bulgaria's Precautionary Arrangement with the IMF and will look at the utilization of the 2005 national budget and a framework for the 2006 budget.

On Wednesday upon the arrival of the IMF Mission Leader for Bulgaria Hans Flickenschild expressed doubts over the reaching of an agreement between the Fund's mission and Bulgaria's financial authorities.

Flickenschild once again voiced the Fund's concerns over the deficit in Bulgaria's current account that might exceed 10% by the end of the year. While the finance ministry plans to enter 2006 with a balanced budget, the IMF demands that the government come up with a budget surplus next year.

The IMF already expressed agreement with the planned introduction of hikes in excise duties and reduction of the social security burden.

The global lender has repeatedly voiced its concerns over the deficit in Bulgaria's current account that might exceed 10% by the end of the year.

At the end of August Finance Minister Plamen Oresharski warned that Bulgaria may fall short by BGN 1 B from the financial parameters agreed by the previous government and the International Monetary Fund.

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