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First Round of IMF Talks Called Successful

January 5, 2007

President-elect Daniel Ortega is likely to renew an economic assistance program from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), despite opposition from within his own recently formed administration.

“The President-elect expressed his intention to work with the fund toward a new economic program that would entrench stability in Nicaragua,” Anoop Singh, IMF director for the Western Hemisphere, said in a statement after meeting with Ortega Dec. 19.

The $140 million IMF contract, which expired last month, has been credited for improving economic stability in

Nicaragua, although some critics charge that it has been at the expense of the poor.

“We have criticized the IMF and will continue to do so,” said sociologist Orlando Núñez, who was recently tapped to head the Ortega government’s “Zero Poverty” program, which aims to eradicate extreme poverty over the next five years.

In an interview with radio station La Primerísima, Núñez said that the Sandinistas will seek support outside of the IMF to fund anti-poverty programs. Yet many experts, including those within the Ortega administration, are pushing for continued ties with the IMF.

“Under the leadership of President (Enrique) Bolaños, Nicaragua has made considerable economic progress,” said Singh.

He stressed that the new government should follow a similar path of economic stability, structural reforms and increased spending on poverty-reduction.

“With the support of the (IMF) and international community, including debt relief, these policies have increased growth and improved social indicators,” he said.

 

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