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Greece Wins IMF Praise Despite Slow State Reform

"The (IMF) is concerned that the focus is shifting significantly away from ensuring the exit of redundant and unqualified staff to relocation of such staff within the public sector," it said.

Poul Thomsen, the IMF's mission chief in Greece, said he was confident the recession would end soon and that eurozone countries would make good on their pledge to provide Greece with additional debt relief after Athens balances its state budget.

"I have no doubt we will see a bottoming out of recession next year, early next year. I am still confident," Thomsen said.

In Wednesday's report, the IMF also predicted the bailout program would fall short of Greece's needs by 4.4 billion euros ($5.84 billion) next year and by 6.5 billion euros ($8.63 billion) in 2015. The IMF â¿¿ describing the expected shortfall as a "test of European support" â¿¿ said that finance ministers from the 17 euro countries have already begun discussions on plugging financing gaps.

The Greek government, meanwhile, said it was finalizing a credit system for its new transfer-and-firing mobility scheme in the public sector â¿¿ taking qualifications, work assessment and experience, as well as family status and other "social factors" into account â¿¿ to meet its target of firing 15,000 workers on the state payroll by the end of next year.

Workers will be suspended on reduced pay during an assessment period of up to eight months â¿¿ a plan that prompted the civil servants unions ADEDY to announce work stoppages Thursday and Friday in protest.

The government conceded that many of those suspended would ultimately be fired â¿¿ in contrast to an earlier pledge.

"It is true that there will be a number of employees placed who will be placed in the mobility scheme who will not be absorbed and they will have to head to the exit ... we must be sincere about this," Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told private Antenna television Tuesday.

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