IMF OKs $314 million disbursement for bailed-out Cyprus; praises progress, urges vigilance

The International Monetary Fund has approved a $314 million disbursement for bailed-out Cyprus, praising the country's progress in meeting fiscal targets while urging authorities to push ahead with structural reforms.

The IMF said Friday that Cyprus has so far received nearly three quarters of a $1.13 billion assistance package under the country's 2013 rescue deal. The European Union is providing another $10.17 billion.

IMF official David Lipton said Cyprus has achieved better-than-expected results in meeting its fiscal targets, but needs to efficiently implement new laws aimed at reducing a huge number of bad bank loans stunting growth.

Lipton said Cypriot authorities should save money, given its high public debt and lingering economic uncertainty, while implementing a new welfare system to protect vulnerable groups and should go ahead with privatizations.