ECONOMY

IMF: Greek aid to be paid by Dec. 15

Greece is to receive the International Monetary Fund?s share of the latest 8-billion-euro rescue package for Greece by December 15, sources said on Wednesday.

The IMF?s contribution of 2.2 billion euros was approved on Monday following the decision taken last week by eurozone finance ministers to release their share of 5.8 billion euros to Greece. The sixth tranche of rescue funding is crucial if the country is to meet its financing needs through December.

In a statement released after the IMF?s board gave the green light for the money to be released, the fund?s chief Christine Lagarde congratulated Greek authorities for their ?substantial achievements? to date.

But she noted that an ongoing austerity drive aimed at reducing a huge budget deficit was ?in a difficult phase, with structural reforms proceeding slowly, the economy weak, and the external environment deteriorating.? She called for a ?prompt implementation of underlying fiscal reforms which are necessary to downsize the public sector and strengthen tax collection.?