CURRENCY BOARD IN BULGARIA SHOULD REMAIN, KEEP TO THE STRUCTURAL REFORM POLICY
Gerald Shiff, the new IMF Mission to Bulgaria leader to the Banker weekly
Mr. Shiff, have you already acquired any notions about Bulgaria during your work at IMF and what are they?
- I am still studying the details of the economic situation in Bulgaria. On the basis of what I have learned till the moment I can say that Bulgaria has reached excellent results from the 3-year agreement with the IMF. Your country has gone through an extremely difficult period and I am convinced it has chosen the right direction for development.
You have been a deputy leader of the IMF Mission to Latvia and IMF's Senior Economist for Russia and Latvia. What do you think are the problems in common for Bulgaria and the countries, where you have already worked?
- There are many things in common between Bulgaria and the Baltic countries. They aim at joining the EU and at the same time undergo a successful transition to market economy. No matter what the financial system is - whether the countries have implemented a currency board or a floating exchange rate, the countres have remarcable success.
Bulgaria is somewhat slow in terms of real economic growth and this is the biggest challenge for the country.
What are the other challenges which Bulgarian economy is facing?
- Real growth is the major generalising indicator. That means that economic stability should be maintained and structural reforms should continue.
What are the major trends Bulgarian government has to follow in its policy?
- The Bulgarian government has already established directives, which major trends should continue to observe. Currency board proved successful and I think it should keep its functions in the future as well.
Which was the most difficult moment during your career with IMF with the East European countries?
- The most difficult period for me was during my assignment in Russia. I arrived there immediately after August 1998, after the big crisis. IMF Mission started its operation in September 1998 and the situation was extremely serious.
The positive thing for working in the Baltic countries, as well as in Bulgaria, is the fact that the governments aim at fulfilling the committments they undertake in front of IMF.