Press Release: IMF Staff Statement on Bolivia

February 27, 2004

A staff team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Marco Piñón visited La Paz during February 12-24, 2004 to discuss the authorities' 2004 economic program in the context of the third review of Bolivia's Stand-By Arrangement with the Fund. The team met with President Carlos Mesa; Minister of the Presidency José Antonio Galindo; Minister of Economic Development Xavier Nogales; Minister of Finance Javier Cuevas; Minister of Hydrocarbons Alvaro Ríos; President of the Central Bank Juan Antonio Morales; Banking Superintendent Fernando Calvo; other members of the economic team; Congressional leaders; and members of civil society.

The mission made considerable progress toward developing a macroeconomic framework for 2004 that would preserve economic stability, achieve greater social inclusion, and set a foundation for restoring growth. During the discussions, President Mesa and his team reiterated their firm commitment to an economic program that would allow the country to achieve sustained growth and reduce poverty, while ensuring debt sustainability. The staff team welcomed a number of important recent developments, including steps to prepare the way to the gas referendum and the constitutional assembly; the recently issued austerity and transparency decrees; and announcement of measures to reduce the fiscal deficit, while minimizing the impact on the poor.

Discussions with the Bolivian authorities will continue during the weeks ahead. The aim is to reach agreement on policies that would allow the third review and an extension of the SBA to be brought for Board consideration once the fiscal program has been put in place and its financing is assured.


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