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Fiscal reforms essential to rebuild Iraq

FROM IMF REPORT: Iraq continues to avail itself of the transitional arrangements under Article XIV, Section 2 but no longer maintains any exchange restrictions or multiple currency practices subject to Article XIV, Section 2, and currently maintains one multiple currency practice (MCP) subject to Fund approval under Article VIII, Section 3.1

Fiscal reforms=CURRENCY REFORM

Fiscal reforms essential to rebuild Iraq and improve economic growth, IMF says.

The country must implement policy and structural changes to ensure macroeconomic stability and promote sustainable growth

Recovering oil prices and improved security have helped Iraq strengthen its economy but it needs to implement reforms aimed at ensuring macroeconomic stability and mitigating risks from oil price volatility, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The near-term vulnerabilities in Iraq have eased with a large fiscal surplus in 2018 but post-war reconstruction and economic recovery has been slow while a fall in oil prices would pose a major risk to the outlook, the IMF said in a report on Friday.

Iraqi authorities should “seize the opportunity presented by the improved security situation and higher oil prices to implement policies and structural reforms aimed at ensuring macroeconomic and financial stability, tackling long-standing social problems and promoting sustainable and inclusive growth,” the IMF executive board concluded after a consultation with the Iraqi government.

Iraq faces “daunting” challenges after its war with ISIS: social conditions remain harsh following the conflict, with slow progress on rebuilding, weak public services and a lack of job opportunities, the IMF said. Given highly volatile oil prices, Iraq faces risk from a drop in crude prices, which would lower exports and revenues, leading to sharper declines in central bank reserves or higher public debt.

In addition, geopolitical tensions and lack of progress in curbing corruption could pose further risk.

The Washington-based lender urged Iraqi authorities to adopt a fiscal policy that scales up public investment while gradually building buffers, as part of wider reforms to better manage oil revenues and protect from oil price shocks.

To do this, the IMF recommended phased measures to lower current spending and boost non-oil revenue.

Tighter spending would mean containing public-sector wages and lowering subsidies to the electricity sector.

A review of social spending must ensure that the country’s poorest are protected during these reforms, the fund said.

From Dinar Iraq IQD & Dong Vietnam VND

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