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IMF Preps $410M for Kenya After Answers on Colombia and Myanmar As Inner City Press Asks of Crises

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Video
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 17 – When the International Monetary Fund held its biweekly embargoed press briefing on May 6, Inner City Press asked about unrest (and tax hikes) in Colombia, the coup in Myanmar, and a program for Uganda. Interim video here, IMF video and transcript forthcoming.  Spokesperson Gerry Rice responded on each, below.

Now on May 17, on Kenya which while on the UN Security Council has colluded with the corruption and censorship of Antonio Guterres, this: "A staff team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Mary Goodman conducted a virtual mission to Kenya from April 29 to May 14, 2021 to discuss progress on reforms and the authorities’ policy priorities within the context of the first review of Kenya’s economic program supported by the IMF’s EFF and ECF arrangements.  At the conclusion of the mission, Ms. Goodman issued the following statement:  “The IMF staff team and the Kenyan authorities have reached a staff-level agreement on the first review of Kenya’s economic program under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The agreement is subject to the approval of IMF management and the Executive Board in the coming weeks. Upon completion of the Executive Board review, Kenya would have access to SDR 285 million (equivalent to about US$410 million).

 “As for specific policies, the authorities have taken strong efforts to achieve their planned deficit path in a highly uncertain policymaking environment. They met the fiscal balance target at end-March by a wide margin and had fully implemented their planned tax policy measures, although with continuing pressures from the pandemic, tax revenue yields were slightly below expectations....

The team met with Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning, Mr. Ukur Yatani; Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), Dr. Patrick Njoroge; Deputy Chief of Staff, Executive Office of the President, Mrs. Ruth Kagia; the Principal Secretary for the National Treasury, Dr. Julius Muia; Deputy Governor of the CBK, Ms. Sheila M’Mbijjewe; and other senior government and CBK officials. Staff also had productive discussions with representatives of the Parliamentary Budget Office, the private sector, civil society organizations, and development partners.”

On May 6 Inner City Press asked, "Given unrest in Colombia, is there any updated IMF thinking on the situation in the country, since the April 28 announcement of Colombia's qualification for the arrangement under the Flexible Credit Line?"

  The IMF's Rice among other things said that while the IMF is watching President Duque's moves, Colombia is still eligible for the FCL, due to its strong economic fundamentals. Why the tax hike on eggs and milk, then?

Inner City Press asked, On Myanmar can you update us on IMF's contacts with the regime and other authorities, including those seeking to be recognized?

  Rice's answer was that there was not much new IMF news; he used the word regime and expressed concern.

  Finally Inner City Press asked, " On Uganda, please confirm - and if so, comment on -- reports that Uganda is seeking at least $900 million in a three-year IMF program for its budget amid rising spending due to the Covid-19 pandemic."

  Rice confirmed that's the size of the request, said things are progressing with more still to be ironed out. The size will be up to the IMF Board.

   Back on March 11 in a question Inner City Press, given what it has reported on for the past three days was compelled to ask, it sent and asked, "On Honduras, given mounting evidence including in the trial of Geovanny Fuentes-Ramirez that high government officials are implicated in narco-trafficking, what are the IMF's comments on current programs and safeguards in place?"

  As noted, Spokesperson Rice said that IMF does not comment on (pending) judicial proceedings. At least he took the question.

Watch this site.

Back on January 8 Inner City Press asked the IMF's Helge Berger, Mission Chief, about China's so-called Belt and Road Initiative: "Your Article IV report cites China's "overseas lending projects" amid "rising geopolitical tensions and economic and trade frictions." How does the IMF think that rising debt levels among African countries, and increased skepticism about the "Belt and Road" will impact or be addressed going forward? -Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press. Video here.

(An aside: Inner City Press has reported on the CEFC China Energy Fund Committee's activities in Chad and Uganda and in the UN, on which the UN is UNresponsive.)

Other questions included China's digital currency (Inner City Press also reports on crypto-currency cases in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and elsewhere). Berger said when used overseas an issue is that residents could start using another country's currency, if it is easier.

We'll have more on this.


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