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IMF mission arrives in Georgia

By M. Alkhazashvili
(Translated by Diana Dundua)
Friday, February 29
A mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is due to arrive in Georgia today to discuss recent economic developments with government officials, parliamentarians, businesses and NGOs.

The mission will be headed by David Owen, deputy director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department, and a press briefing of its findings is scheduled for March 7.

The previous IMF mission to visit Georgia came during November 1–9, and noted that despite strong economic performance, signs of overheating were beginning to emerge. It also put twelve-month inflation at 11.2 percent as of the end of October, and called on the government to target single-digit inflation.

Since then, new Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze, confirmed by parliament shortly after the previous IMF mission, has publicly stepped up efforts to control inflation and stipulated that the chief of the National Bank must resign if the figure hits 12 percent.

Earlier this month, Gurgenidze said inflation in January was 10.7 percent, which he acknowledge as being “unacceptably high” but added that it was part of a positive trend.

“Of course this is high, but look at the trend: 11.3 percent [inflation in November]; 11 percent [in December] and 10.7 percent [in January],” he said.