An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Ron van Rooden, visited Banjaluka and Sarajevo to discuss recent economic developments and policies for the sixth review under Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). At the conclusion of the visit, Mr. van Rooden made the following statement:
“A modest recovery in economic activity continues, supported by strong exports. Growth is estimated to have reached over 1 percent in 2013 and is projected to pick up further in 2014 in line with developments in Europe. The banking sector is broadly stable but remains burdened by rising non-performing loans. Unemployment remains high, however, at 28 percent, although the number of employed has started to increase. At the same time, considerable downside risks loom ahead, including those stemming from general elections later this year.”
He emphasized that the authorities need more time to implement policies that had been agreed under the Stand-By Arrangement.
“This includes policies to strengthen tax collection, contain government spending, and improve the business environment. This also includes measures to tackle corruption, such as a new procurement law and legislation to fight money-laundering. We hope to see strong progress in the implementation of these policies—including by the parliaments—in order to pave the way for consideration of the sixth review under the SBA by the IMF Executive Board.”