Greece’s finance minister Christos Staikouras told Reuters on Monday that the country would be proceeding with the early repayment of bailout loans to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) by the end of the month.
Repaying IMF loans two years ahead of schedule would bring the country one step closer to exiting enhanced surveillance status and help it further improve the sustainability of its debt.
“Greece has officially submitted a request for the full repayment of the outstanding balance of its IMF loans. The relevant procedure has been launched and is expected to be completed at the end of March,” Staikouras said, adding that the country is now aiming to achieve primary surplus in 2023.
According to Reuters, Greece has received more than 260 billion euros in bailout loans from the European Union and the IMF. It owes the IMF 1.9 billion euros in loans due by 2024.
Greece’s national debt is the highest in the EU at 189.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2022.
The announced early repayment is expected to reduce the debt by about one percentage point and save the country approximately 50 million euros in interest rate payments.
Staikouras said that the government was working towards the country’s exit from enhanced surveillance in the summer of 2022, adding that Greece was successfully completing the reviews foreseen in the debt support program.
“In 2022, we pursue a marked improvement in our public finances through the gradual withdrawal of support measures – as the economy returns to normality – and the increase in public revenues, which will be the result of strong economic growth, already achieved in 2021 with a ‘V-shape recovery’,” he said.
In December, the Eurogroup approved the release of 767 million euros in aid as part of Greece’s enhanced surveillance and debt support program with the Commission reporting that the country had made progress with reform implementation despite repercussions from the pandemic.