WB: Serbian government "on right track"

BELGRADE -- The World Bank (WB) has been officially acquainted with a 3-year fiscal strategy of the Serbian government, WB Office in Belgrade head Tony Verheijen has said.

The Serbian authorities have taken a number of measures in the right direction, he noted.

"We saw the government's fiscal prognosis, and the WB finds it important that Serbia has control over the debt-to-GDP ratio. It is clear that it will impossible to implement that by the next year due to the costs of the process of reforming the state-owned companies, in which the WB is also involved," Verheijen told reporters after the third summit of mayors, municipal presidents and businesspeople.

The Serbian government has certain budget funds for financing of the reform process, which will be very expensive, he said.

"For the reason we are aware that the 2014 budget cannot look optimistic in terms of the debt-to-GDP ratio, but in the long run we support the government's goal to put the debt-to-GDP ratio under control by 2016, and we believe that a number of measures proposed within the budget are a step in the right direction," the WB official noted.

"We know the Serbian government is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund on certain additional measures which should perhaps be taken. We are trying to help the Serbian government by providing advice and urging it to think about the measure of rationalization of salaries which could bring the government back to the path of stability. We believe that the manner in which this budget was set is a big step in the right direction," Verheijen said.