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As Inzko Cites Failures in Bosnia & Republika Srpska, Tobacco & IMF Freeze

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 15 -- Amid counter charges in the UN Security Council on May 15 about who's to blame for problems in Bosnia, it's worth nothing that the country's International Monetary Fund program got frozen as well. On May 8 Inner City Press asked IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice:

Inner City Press: What steps would the IMF require to unfreeze the next tranche of its standby program? Does the IMF have any comment on the Federation's May 6th auction of six month Treasury Bills?

IMF Spokesperson Rice: "The fifth review under Bosnia's and Herzegovina's standby arrangement was completed in January 2014. For the next review, the sixth review, while the authorities implemented measures that had been agreed to improve revenue collection and budget processes, the decision by the Parliament to delay consideration of legislation, to harmonize excises on different tobacco products precluded the completion of the review, and the disbursement of the next tranche.

"Since this has delayed the completion of the sixth review, a staff team will go back to Bosnia and Herzegovina later this month for discussions on what will now be the combined sixth and seventh reviews. Then, just to answer the question, in order for us to be able to take the combined reviews forward, full implementation of the prior actions for the sixth review would be needed, notably again, the harmonization of those excises on different tobacco products, and a comprehensive sharing of tax payer information between the four tax agencies to help improve compliance."

   On May 15 amid all of  High Representative for BiH Valentin Inzko's criticism in the Security Council, about calls for secession in Republika Srpska, he did not mention this failure too. There was a call to “draw down” his apparatus. It ends with a whimper, not a bang.

  The IMF's spokesperson Rice's answer was long, so we uploaded the video here, filmed from the IMF webcast while at the UN Security Council stakeout:

Inner City Press also asked Gerry Rice and the IMF:

  In Pakistan, PTI Information Secretary KPK and MNA Ayesha Gulalai has said, “it is very unfortunate that Pakistan's budget is being prepared by the IMF in Dubai.. instead of taxing the 4 million wealthy identified by the FBR, burden is being passed on to the already burdened masses.” What is the IMF's response?

  On Madagascar, when George Tsibouris on May 6 said the government agreed to "address the issue of fuel price subsidies over time," can you be more specific on how much time the IMF envisions? Also, can the IMF be more specific about what is referred to by "creating a level playing field for the private sector"?

  While the Managing Director is in Morocco, can you answer if Western Sahara is included by the IMF in Morocco's data, and what impact the IMF believes the Western Sahara issue has on Morocco's economy and economic prospects?

This last one, Inner City Press also asked two weeks ago, and again more recently on connection with the IMF's Ukraine program. Watch this site.


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