The Serbian government’s current program has exceeded all expectations in terms of economic growth, says head of the IMF mission for Serbia James Roaf.

“Investment, employment and fiscal adjustment, but it is early to declare it a success, as Serbia has still much to do, he wrote in an op-ed published by the weekly NIN.

From the macroeconomic point of view, the reforms that Serbia has put in place are “one of the best cases in the history of IMF programs in which results were better than projections”.

However, Roaf notes that the population’s income is painfully low by western European standards – “and to change this growth needs to be significantly faster than three percent.”

“Public debt higher than 70 percent of GDP is still high and sensitive to changes in external conditions or economic downturn. The transition is far from complete, and the economy is overburdened by an inefficient public sector while relying too little on the productive private sector,” the IMF official wrote.

“The only way for the Serbian population income to grow in a sustainable way is to strengthen and expand the private sector, and reduce the public sector. The good news is that the government’s program aims to achieve precisely these goals,” said Roaf.