Inner City Press


In Other Media-e.g. Somalia, Ghana, Azerbaijan, The Gambia   For further information, click here to contact us          .

Home -

Search is just below this first article

How to Contact Us


Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"

Inner City Press Podcast --

IMF's Screened-Out Questions Include Banks Over Butter in Santo Domingo, Subprime's Now Old Hat

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, May 24, updated May 25 -- Every two weeks, the International Monetary Fund holds a press briefing to field media questions, in person in Washington and over the Internet from accredited reporters elsewhere.

  On May 24, from its office in the UN in New York, Inner City Press submitted two questions during the briefing by the IMF's Masood Ahmed. On screen, Mr. Ahmed said, it looks like there are no more questions. Inner City Press immediately wrote to request an explanation.

   The response shows that the questions were received while Mr. Ahmed was still briefing. Why they were screened out, whether other questions were screened out, and why the IMF pretends to be taking all questions -- none of these procedural questions has been answered, despite requests, even 24 hours later. Transparency, anyone?

            The questions Inner City Press submitted Thursday concerned the IMF's findings and actions regarding the subprime lending industry implosion, and in what some see as another form of predatory lending, a recent position by the IMF in the Dominican Republic, on how much should be devoted to Central Bank reserves.

Santo Domingo -- 2006, MDGs; 2007, IMF

Inner City Press submitted an article to this effect, available here, and expected to hear IMF spokesman Ahmed answer the question, as he did questions about Turkey and Italy. But Mr. Ahmed said, "there are no more questions."

            Later, while ignoring Inner City Press' two requests for an explanation of the pre-screening of questions, the IMF provided two responses, one perfunctory and the other slightly more detailed. In that order:

From: IMF, Media Briefing Center
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2007 10:18:14 AM
To: IMF, Media Briefing Center
Subject: Question Received (5/24/2007 10:18:14 AM)
Auto forwarded by a Rule
Question: On turmoil in the subprime lending industry, has there been any evolution in the past month in the IMF's thinking or research? Where and by whom in the IMF is this being tracked? Thank you. [From: Matthew Lee Media Outlet: Inner City Press]

[at 10:42:36 a.m.] Matthew, I refer you to the Global Financial Stability Report that was issued by the IMF on April 10. We have nothing to add on the subprime market beyond that.


[at 11:39:41 a.m.] Matthew, On the Dominican Republic, the Fund has provided technical assistance to the DR authorities to aid them in the design of their plan to recapitalize the central bank. The authorities recognize that while the central bank had to act quickly to resolve the banking crisis, the cost of this resolution process, i.e., the debt assumed by the central bank, was the responsibility of the government. In this context, the government has established a plan to recapitalize the central bank. The plan calls for gradual annual transfers to the central bank that over a ten-year period rise from 0.5 percent of GDP to 1.4 percent of GDP. Such spending is consistent with the projected total spending envelope that the country projects for meeting social spending needs. Regards, Conny Lotze IMF Media Relations

   In the Dominican Republic, Chamber Commission chair Ramon Cabrera has been quoted, of the IMF, that "the essence of that bill is the transfer of some 220 billion pesos from other institutions to the Central Bank, in about 10 years, which means that funds for Education, Health and social expenditure will be reduced, with touching just three points." 

            And in Washington, the IMF pretends there are no questions, then refuses to explain its question-screening process. What was that, about transparency again?

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Search WWW Search

Other Inner City Press reports are available in the ProQuest service and some are archived on --

            Copyright 2007 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] - phone: (718) 716-3540