The Montenegrin delegation led by CBCH Governor Radoje Žugić and Finance Minister Darko Radunović held the first meeting with the Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, Tao Zhang. Due to the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are holding all regular autumn meetings in a “virtual format”.
During the meeting, Governor Žugić and Minister Radunović briefed their counterparts on the current situation in Montenegro, strongly adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis which engendered severe health, social and economic problems.
According to Žugić, banks have shown a high degree of resilience so far. This resilience derived from their pre-crisis good condition and the proactive CBCG actions, referring to the adoption of timely and adequate measures to strengthen banks’ liquidity and solvency, strong support for the real economy, and preserving financial stability. The CBCG representatives informed Zhang about the current activities of the CBCG, especially those concerning the AQR implementation, which is being realized within the planned timeline.
Minister Radunović briefed Zhang on public finances, noting that revenues for this year’s first nine months were significantly lower Year-on-Year and compared to the revised 2020 plan, primarily due to declining tourist revenues over the tourist season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, budget expenditures have risen due to the implementation of the so far three adopted packages of socio-economic measures aimed at combating the adverse effects of the pandemic and helping citizens and the economy, but also due to financing increased health system emergencies.
Mr. Zhang pointed out to the dire situation at a global level, with many countries facing significant economic challenges, and the “shock for Montenegro is stronger and greater, not only because of its size but also because of its dependence on tourism”, In that sense, Zhang stressed the need for proactive action, that is, timely preparation for new challenges that could extend the duration of the pandemic.
The IMF Deputy Managing Director conveyed this institution’s readiness to continue cooperation and provide all feasible support to Montenegro. /ibna