IMF gives a $457 million loan to Albania

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — The International Monetary Fund has agreed to provide a 331 million euros ($457 million) loan over three years to support Albania's economic reforms.

An immediate disbursement of 26.4 million euros ($36.4 million) will assist Albania's plans to reform pensions, energy, local government finances, public administration and improve the business environment.

The bulk of the loan will be used to cover Albania's public debt, expected to reach up to 75 percent of gross domestic product from 60 percent last year. The World Bank and the EU are also likely to provide assistance to the authorities' reform program, according to a statement made available Saturday.

Albania's leftist Socialist-led government is struggling with stagnant private credit and arrears to the private sector, estimated at 35 billion leks ($337 million).

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