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On DR Congo Inner City Press Put Corruption Q to IMF Which Cites Poor Governance LKA Too

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT NY Post

NEW YORK CITY, Nov 21 – When the International Monetary Fund held its biweekly embargoed media briefing on November 21, Inner City Press submitted questions including on the Democratic Republic of Congo. Inner City Press asked: "On DRC, if a program is to be voted on by the IMF Board in December, does that mean that (all) of the IMF's concerns about corruption, including in the mining sector have been addressed?"

  IMF Deputy Spokesperson Camilla Andersen read the questions, From Matthew Lee at Inner City Press, if a program is to be voted on by the IMF Board in December, does that mean that all of the IMF's concerns about corruption have been addressed? She replied that the program agreed to at the staff level would include structural reforms that would address "poor governance."

  Inner City Press also asked about Sri Lanka now that Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been elected. Her answer included that the IMF looks forward to continue cooperation. Not about the bloodbath on the beach. We'll add the transcript when available.

 From the IMF's November 7 transcript, with video on page: "There's another question from Matthew, which I'll take on Equatorial Guinea, asking what's the status and the volume of the IMF's consideration of a program for Equatorial Guinea and the weighing, if at all, length of time that President Obiang has been in power. On that, I can say that just recently on October 21st, the Equatorial Guinea authorities and an IMF team reached staff level agreement on a three-year arrangement. Again, under the extended Fund facility, which is the more concessional arm of the IMF's lending. The authorities are working on an agreed set of measures that could allow the new program to be considered by the IMF's Executive Board in December. And Matthew had asked about the volume. We're looking at the program that could be supported by approximately $280 million. So, that's four [sic] Equatorial Guinea.  And anything else in the room?"

On September 26 Spokesperson already then Gerry Rice,  for new Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, on Turkey said "this is also from Matthew, he has asked ' On Turkey, what is the IMF's response to ruling AKP deputy chair Numan Kurtulmuş criticizing a meeting between IMF & opposition parties, saying Turkey has "closed the topic with the IMF."'

  Then Rice said it is normal to meet with opposition - except in Cameroon, apparently - and that there has been no indication from the Turkish authorities they are looking for a program.

  On September 12 Inner City Press asked the IMF: "On Zimbabwe, please confirm or deny IMF's Patrick Imam saying that "it is clear, compared to the projections of the original SMP, which did not foresee the severity of the drought and its secondary impact, nor the electricity shock, that growth is almost certainly going to be revised downwards and inflation upwards compared to the original SMP forecasts." And what is the IMF's view of the (economic) impact of the crack down on protest and human rights defenders?"

  Spokesperson Gerry Rice said that the IMF team is in Harare, from September 5 to 17. On human rights, he said the IMF "focuses on economics" and that such questions should be directed to... bilateral creditor. At least he didn't say the UN, which doesn't care. Here are Inner City Press' other questions to the IMF:

On Somalia, please provide a read out or response to reports that Somali Minister of Finance Abdirahman Duale Beyle met officials from the IMF  Addis Ababa to discuss the fourth phase of the Somali pardon program.

On Sri Lanka, what is the IMF's response to Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, sayins that in Sri Lanka, there are concerns at the significant rise in the value added tax, given that the brunt of such taxes is often borne by the poorest?

More generally, what is the IMF's response to Bohoslavsky saying as to the IMF that "even though austerity can be a useful tool of administration against the squandering of resources, it is essential to keep in mind that austerity impacts the most vulnerable and marginalised"?

On crypto-currency what is the IMF's response to Marshall Islands Minister David Paul saying the country is moving forward with its plans. According to the post, Minister Paul will provide further details about the Marshall Islands’ crypto, the Sovereign, next week at the Invest: Asia 2019 conference?  Within months, the IMF began putting pressure on the Marshall Islands to not forego the U.S. dollar in favor of its own digital currency. The Fund issued a 58-page report in September 2018 and warned against the "potential costs arising from economic, reputational, AML/CFT, and governance risks" associated with the issuance of the Sovereign.

On the DR Congo, what is the IMF's knowledge of, and comment on, that all the big-name advisory banks are laying siege to the presidential palace in the hope of winning the contract to advise the DRC on its relations with the IMF?" Inner City Press also asked, again, for "any updates on Cameroon or Haiti or Yemen." Watch this site.

More here.

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