tihomir orešković.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ/ lsd

Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, Finance Minister Zdravko Maric and Croatian National Bank (HNB) governor Boris Vujcic met on Wednesday with representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission in Croatia, the new mission head, Khaled Sakr, and former mission head Johannes Wiegand, to inform them of the government's plans regarding the state budget.

Ahead of the meeting, Sakr said that he had come to get acquainted with the new government's plans.

Sakr said that reforms were very important for Croatia, which he said had great potential.

He expressed hope that reforms would be implemented so that the goals from the government's programme could be achieved.

Asked which concrete moves he expected the government to make, Sakr said that he wanted to hear the views of the prime minister, the finance minister and the central bank's governor.

He noted that there was a lot of imbalances in Croatia, that unemployment was high but that there was a lot of potential for continuing the growth of exports.

It is important to ensure a good start to achieve sustainable progress, based on increased employment and exports, said Sakr.

Asked if the IMF recommended any cuts, Sakr said the next meeting would be held in a few weeks and that at that meeting there would be more technical details and discussion.

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said before the meeting with the IMF delegation that the appointment of the new government had coincided with a change at the helm of the IMF Mission in Croatia and that its new head Khaled Sakr had come to introduce himself.

He said that earlier in the day he and HNB governor Vujcic met with IMF officials to discuss topics from the area of monetary policy, with emphasis on fiscal policy.

Maric said that he and Vujcic informed the IMF officials of the government's plans with this year's budget and plans for the next four years.

When asked if there would be cuts and if they had discussed them, Maric said that they had not.

"In the next three to four weeks, Mr Khaled Sakr will return with his team and he will stay here a whole week, during which time we will discuss details regarding the budget," Maric said.

HNB governor Boris Vujcic told reporters before the meeting that the monetary and banking system policies would remain the same as until now and that there would be no changes to either the exchange rate or the bank system regulation.

"This meeting was more or less an exchange of opinions, concrete moves were not discussed," Vujcic said.

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