Ministry told to shift barriers

The troika put pressure on the Development Ministry on Tuesday to battle price rises by moving ahead with market liberalization and improving conditions for competition. It also expressed disagreement with plans for the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZ).

The representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund raised the issue of lifting barriers to entering a series of industries, such as retail commerce and fuel trading, during their talks with top ministry officials. In response, the ministry said it would turn to the so-called Competition Assessment Toolkit provided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and has asked employers and consumer groups to identify the market distortions they face by the end of September.

A high-level ministry official said responses of the troika, and particularly the IMF, ranged from reserved to negative regarding the SEZ plan for special labor and tax status in specific areas of the country. That may entail a redrafting of the plan.

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