IMF to hike aid to Georgia

WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund said Monday it had reached a tentative agreement to increase aid to Georgia by 420 million dollars to assist its recovery from war and economic turmoil.

The increase, subject to approval by the IMF executive board, would boost the 750-million-dollar financial package approved last year to help Georgia recover from its brief war with Russia last August.

The staff-level agreement would also extend the programme through mid-2011, IMF officials said.

The new aid plan "would help support the economic policies put in place by the Georgian authorities to overcome the pressures created by the international financial and economic crisis, which came on top of the economic and financial disruption caused by the conflict with Russia," said IMF mission chief Edward Gardner.

"In the face of a deeper and more prolonged slowdown of economic activity, as well as a slower recovery of private capital inflows, the authorities' programme balances the need to sustain the economic recovery in 2009 with that of restoring sound fiscal and external position over the medium term."