• No Greek request yet to exit IMF program

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    WASHINGTON, D.C.: Greece has not yet made any request for an early exit to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) bailout program, IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice said on Thursday (Friday in Manila).

    After Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said he wants to end the program early—as the Greek economy begins to turn for the better—Rice stressed that IMF programs are voluntary and borrowers are free to cut them short.

    “To the best of my knowledge, there’s been no such request at this point,” he said.

    “It’s up to the authorities of a member country… to request financial assistance from the IMF. Similarly, it’s up to the authorities to request the termination of the program should they consider that financial and technical advice from the fund are no longer required.”

    In Berlin on Tuesday, Samaras said that Greece could exit the IMF program, which has come with tough conditions for reforms in the country, ahead of its planned expiration in early 2016.

    The IMF was one of the troika, along with the EU and the European Central Bank, who funded and oversaw the $240 billion dollar rescue program for the Greek economy, which came with austere conditions that exacerbated its lengthy recession.

    But with the economy beginning a comeback, and the EU-ECB portion of the program to expire at the end of this year, Samaras suggested Athens might soon be ready to do without the IMF’s backing as well.

    Rice said an IMF team will be in Greece on September 30 to discuss the country’s 2015 budget plans and the high level of problem loans in the banking sector.

    Both are “issues where significant technical progress is needed,” Rice said, before the IMF could move ahead toward the next disbursement of funds from its loan program.

    AFP

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