CZECH REPUBLIC - The IMF has urged the Czech government to speed up the formulation of pension proposals to restrict the rising public debt.
The IMF warned that without prompt reforms to slow the growth of pension and health care spending, public debt would continue to grow, ratcheting-up interest rates.
“Long lags from the reforms to their impact on public spending warrant early action, and we urge the government to speed up the formulation of its proposals,” the organisation said.
It added that as significant changes to pension system parameters were likely to be needed, forging social consensus on the necessity and nature of the reforms was also required.
It said that pressures for permanent expenditure increases, which were mounting for 2005 in the areas of pensions and public sector wages, should be resisted to deliver the 2005 expenditure target.
The IMF said that the “little progress” with pensions reforms left public finances ill-prepared for coping with spending pressures from population ageing.
It recommended reducing the deficit below 2% of GDP by 2008-09 to strengthen the fiscal position and help keep public debt at a moderate level.
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