IMF team studying progress against poverty

Stabroek News
December 4, 2002

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A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is here for discussions with government officials on the progress being made in implementing the Poverty Reduction Programme.

Stabroek News understands that the team is here for two weeks and will be reviewing the progress made in meeting the initial benchmarks set for the US$73M - three-year implementation credit as set out in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper.

The IMF is providing the credit to Guyana under its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). The award of the credit was announced in September and the Fund disclosed then that US$7.3M was being made available immediately to Guyana.

It also announced that additional interim assistance was being provided to Guyana under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) amounting to Special Drawing Rights equivalent to about US$5.4M to help the country meet its debt service payments to the IMF. When the announcement was made in September, the IMF said, its "Executive Board determined that Guyana's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) provides a sound basis for the Fund's concessionary financial assistance".

The PRGF is the IMF's concessionary facility for low-income countries. It is intended that PRGF-supported programmes will in time be based on country-owned poverty reduction strategies adopted in a participatory process involving civil society and development partners, and articulated in a PRSP. This is to ensure that each PRGF-supported programme is consistent with a comprehensive framework for macroeconomic, structural, and social policies to foster growth and reduce poverty.

PRGF loans carry an annual interest rate of 0.5 percent and are repayable over 10 years with a 5 1/2-year grace period on principal payments.

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