IMF projects solid economic growth in SEE in 2016, 2017


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday it expects the economies in Southeastern Europe (SEE) to record solid growth in 2016 and 2017.

Three European Union member states in SEE – Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania (SEE EU) are expected to post weighted average economic growth of 4.1% in 2016 and 3.3% in 2017, the IMF said in its Regional Economic Issues report.

“Improving the level of operational performance is particularly challenging. Croatia and Romania face high levels of tax debt and the value of completed verification actions is low. Bulgaria has managed to improve its value added tax (VAT) compliance strategy with the establishment of a special risk management, an audit unit and IT capacity to extend e-filing,” the IMF said.

The economies of the non-EU countries in the region (SEE non-EU) – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia are expected to grow by a weighted average of 2.9% in 2016 and 3.0% in 2017.

“Except for Kosovo and Macedonia, tax collection is generally not unified in a single body, and autonomy is particularly lacking in countries, where also a functional division of core activities has not been fully institutionalized.

Provision of online services is generally weak (except for Kosovo and Serbia where improvements have been significant), hindering the full development of a risk management approach to compliance,” the IMF said.

In the SEE EU countries, growth will be driven by private consumption and easier fiscal policy, while in the SEE non-EU countries, it will be mainly reflecting stronger economic expansion in Serbia.