The IMF has approved a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) for cash-strapped Iraq covering the period November 2015 to December 2016, in line with the agreement reached in November between the Iraqi authorities and the IMF (MEES, 13 November 2015). An SMP is an informal agreement between the IMF and country authorities to monitor the implementation of a country’s economic program. The issue is contentious in Iraq, with November protests in Baghdad condemning the IMF (MEES, 27 November 2015).

In a letter addressed to IMF chief Christine Lagarde, the Iraqi government confirmed that it “commits to implement the economic and financial policies” described in a memorandum, which forms part of the SMP, with the aim to “demonstrate good performance and move to a possible IMF financing arrangement as soon as possible.” In July, Iraq got a $1.2bn loan from the IMF under the latter’s Rapid Financing Instrument to help plug the fiscal deficit. (CONTINUED - 312 WORDS)