IMF urges Iraq to bolster non-oil sector

WASHINGTON -The International Monetary Fund, or IMF, forecast that Iraq’s economy would grow around nine per cent this year helped by surging oil production, but said Baghdad needs to do more to support private, non-oil business.

Ten years after the launch of the US war on Iraq, the IMF said the country had been successful at maintaining macroeconomic stability despite a difficult political and security environment.

The economy grew around eight per cent last year underpinned by rising oil production and “robust” non-oil activity.

Growth should pick up again this year as oil output was predicted to gain about 10 per cent to 3.3 million barrels a day.

The IMF said Baghdad needed better controls of state spending, including ending off-budget disbursements, and it urged its central bank to step up bank monitoring and slowly liberalise the forex market.

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