DUBLIN, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Ireland has achieved a "tremendous amount" in the three-year bailout, but there is "still much that needs to be done," an International Monetary Fund (IMF) official said on Thursday.
In an interview with IMF Survey, an IMF online magazine, former Ireland country reviewer Ajai Chopra said there's still a large overhang of debt that needs to be worked out.
"Households' debts amount to almost 200 percent of disposable income. Sovereign debt is also still high -- we project it to peak at about 124 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) in 2013," he said.
"So private balance sheet repair and fiscal consolidation both need to continue. Inevitably, these processes take time," said Chopra.
Despite the progress in recapitalizing and stabilizing the banking system, banks are not yet supporting the economy with adequate lending, he said.
"Nonperforming loans are still high and progress in dealing with these impaired assets has been slow," he said. "Bank profitability remains weak. Work needs to continue to address these impediments to sustained recovery."
The IMF official said the critical objective is to generate higher growth based not only on exports, but also a revival of domestic consumption and investment.
"Such balanced growth is essential to create more jobs and make a bigger dent on unemployment," he said.
Ireland on Sunday exited its three-year bailout in a landmark move. It became the first bailed-out country in the eurozone to officially exit its international financial rescue program.
Ireland was forced to turn to the European Union and the IMF for the 85-billion-euro (116 billion U.S. dollars) bailout in late 2010 after its banks collapsed and its property market bubble burst.