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10:16
KAZAKH GOVERNMENT SHOULD CONCENTRATE ON ELIMINATING WEAKNESSES IN THE BANKING SECTOR – IMF

Almaty, July 29 (Interfax-Kazakhstan) - Kazakh government should concentrate on eliminating weaknesses in the banking sector, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) believes.

"The main challenge ahead is to resolve the weaknesses in the banking sector while maintaining an appropriate policy response to the crisis," the IMF statement on the results of the IMF Executive Board Consultation with the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Executive Directors noted that the Republic of Kazakhstan faces significant challenges from ongoing difficulties in the banking sector and the weak global environment. At the same time they "commended the authorities for their policy response to help shield the economy from the impact of the global recession, including fiscal stimulus made possible by the prudent saving of windfall profits and eased monetary policy."

Directors believed that a comprehensive solution to the growing problems in the banking sector was needed in order to restore confidence in the system and improve the investment climate. They urged the authorities to promptly deal with the external debt standstills at Bank TuranAlem and Alliance Bank and called for independent assessments of the other large banks.

As reported, backbone BTA and Alliance banks are in the process of debts restructuring.

"While supporting recent measures to improve the banking resolution framework, Directors called for further action, including providing the Financial Supervision Agency with the legal authority, independence and resources needed to carry out its mandate to intervene early and forcefully when needed," the statement runs.

They also emphasized the need to ensure effective operation of the deposit insurance fund. Looking forward, Directors called for strengthened financial sector regulation and supervision, including through improved on and off site supervision and further restrictions on foreign currency lending to unhedged borrowers.

With inflation pressures abating, Directors viewed monetary policy as appropriately geared toward supporting economic activity, including through the reduction in reserve requirements and policy rates, and news_engbalance between keeping inflation on a downward path and supporting the financial sector and economy.

Directors supported the expansionary fiscal stance for 2009 given the current circumstances. They recommended focusing on effective implementation of spending under the Crisis Response Plan, and emphasized the need for transparent monitoring of disbursements through the Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund. Directors welcomed the intention to maintain a flexible fiscal policy as needed to respond to the crisis, as well as the commitment to return to a fiscal consolidation path in the future.

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