Burma Seeks IMF Help to Modernize Currency Exchange System

Posted August 9th, 2011 at 7:05 am (UTC-5)
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Burmese media say the government has asked the International Monetary Fund to help it reform a complex foreign exchange system that has become a barrier to economic growth.

IMF officials confirmed to Reuters news agency this week that a team will travel to Burma in the second half of October to assist in the reforms. A spokeswoman said the team will help Burma to modernize the system and lift restrictions on the making of payments and transfers for international transactions.

Burma maintains an official exchange rate of 6 kyats to the U.S. dollar, compared to rates ranging around 800 to one on public markets. The country also has other rates for specific types of transactions.

The proposed exchange rate reorganization would be one of the first concrete economic reforms by Burma’s new government, which came to office at the end of March promising to modernize the economy.

Despite its civilian appearance, the government remains dominated by present and former military officers closely aligned with the former military government.