Pakistan, IMF Won't Explain Lack of Debt Relief, Why & When
Loans, MDG Games
September 9 -- Despite the flooding
crisis in Pakistan, the
Monetary Fund is offering loans, which barely make up
for the debt payments Pakistan is making. Inner City Press on
September 9 asked IMF Spokesperson Caroline Atkinson the following
Pakistan, given the scope of the flooding and that 60% of the
population lives in poverty, why is the IMF not considering debt
forgiveness, and grants instead of loans? Does IMF dispute that
Pakistan's debt payments ($500 million) are larger than the $450
paraphrased the first part of the question, and declined to read out
the second part. She said there was a question from this reporter,
that “talks about the scope of the flooding, which is indeed
terrible... We are assessing, there is a damage assessment by the
World Bank and ADB [Asia Development Bank], results in late October.”
there is no
dispute that Pakistan is deeply damaged. Why use the damage
assessment as an excuse? Ms. Atkinson went on to say that Pakistan's
financial minister was at the IMF last week, discussing an ENDA
(emergency) loan that she said will be approved by the board on a
date not even set yet.
she did not
read out, or answer, this: “Does IMF dispute that Pakistan's debt
payments ($500 million) are larger than the $450 million loan?”
Atkinson acknowledge another question Inner City Press submitted,
after in her introduction she presented the IMF's commitment to what
she called the “Millennium Development Challenge Goals” --
seeming to conflate the MDGs with the U.S. Millennium Challenge.
Pakistan floods, IMF debt relief or explanation not shown
submitted this question, in the same manner as the paraphrased
Pakistan question, that NGOs have
the IMF 'for appearing to retreat to its “traditional position"
and not providing enough flexibility on unwinding deficits without
harming development spending.' Your response?”
this, no answer.
Watch this site.
IMF's Ms. Atkinson did read out and provide a response to an
Inner City Press question on Serbia. Given the vote later today in
the UN General Assembly on Serbia's resolution about the
International Court of Justice, the IMF's answer will be reported at
* * *
Off Funds for Central Africa, Goes on Vacation, Ignores Guinea
Bissau, Ukraine, Hungary and even Haiti Questions
24 -- The IMF, which positions itself as concerned
about lower income countries and people, cut off funding to the
central bank for six Central African states, and then went on
cut off was justified, based on corruption. But when
will the problem be solved and the funding be restored?
July 22, Inner
City Press submitted a series of questions to the IMF in connection
with Spokesperson Caroline Atkinson's online briefing, which we can
no longer call fortnightly.
questions, only one was read out
loud, about the Central African bank. The other questions were
neither read nor answered. And there will be no next briefing until
late August, after the IMF Board's vacation under August 20. (In
fairness to the IMF, the World Bank also followed with a cut-off.)
On July 22,
Atkinson read out:
to those of you who participated online. And I’ll get back to any
of you that have further questions that we haven’t been able to
take. Actually, I just see—sorry, there’s another one [from Inner
City Press] that’s flashed up, asking about the status of the
Fund’s review of the Bank of Central African States and 'when will
the suspension and disbursements to countries—well, to the BEAC,
which then on lends to countries be reconsidered?'
just note that we have been closely engaged with the authorities at
the BEAC and with the CEMAC member country authorities to help them
to address the underlying issues that allowed it to take place. And
we hope very much that we can reach satisfactory understandings that
will provide assurance that money disbursed through the BEAC will be
properly safeguarded and that, therefore, we can continue with the
disbursements. And, of course, we’ll let you know when that
happens. Okay, thank you very much.”
also said, “the
Executive Board will be on an informal recess from Monday, August 2,
until Friday, August 20. We will also, by the way, be having our next
press briefing probably late in August.”
what will happen
with BEAC, the central bank for the six states of the Economic
Community of Central African States (CEMAC) -- Gabon, Equatorial
Guinea, Cameroon, Chad, Congo Republic and Central African
Republic? CAR for example is in chaos, with elections supposedly
rebels active in Birao and elsewhere.
Questions in and on Africa, IMF on vacation and not shown
in Cameroon the Finance Ministry was robbed. The Minister of Finance,
Essimi Menye said FCFA 700 million as reported by the media as having
been stolen would have required a pickup vehicle to transport. He
also said such a sum of money was not kept at the Ministry rather at
the Bank of Central African States, BEAC. Hmm...
other questions, which the IMF has yet to acknowledge much less
naming of coup leader to the top Army post have
an impact on IMF re-scheduling consideration of HIPC & MDRI?
why is the IMF opposed to Orban's proposed bank tax?
have questioned why the IMF's new $60 million is not a
grant but a loan. Can you please explain?
the Board on 7/28 be considering both a $3 billion loan
& breaches of information disclosure requirements by Ukraine?
What's the connection between the two?
* * *
Against Pension Cuts, IMF Nods at 5% VAT
-- Romania's Constitutional Court has struck down the
pension cuts connected to the International Monetary Fund's facility
to that country. On July 1 Inner City Press asked IMF Spokesperson
Atkinson for the IMF's reaction to the decision, and if the
government's move to boost the Value Added Tax from 19% to 24% would
be enough for the IMF.
earlier, Ms. Atkinson had responded to Inner City Press' question
about the Constitutional Court in this way, as transcribed
by the IMF
have a question online, which is a bunch of questions, but on
Romania: 'The government’s measures are being challenged in the
Constitutional Court. What does the IMF think of the suit? What
impact might it have on the IMF facility for Romania?' And it’s
absolutely right that the fiscal adjustment measures, which are prior
actions for our program, have to be approved by the Constitutional
Court, and of course we respect that process. That’s an entirely
appropriate process. We don’t think that that will lead to any -- I
mean, that’s not something that we’re concerned about.”
so on July 1
Inner City Press asked, “the Constitutional Court has now rejected
the pension cuts connected to the IMF facility. What is the IMF's
reaction, since two weeks ago it was said that the IMF did not expect
Protest in Romania of austerity, IMF and VAT not shown
said, “I'm not sure about that.” But she'd said of the Court
review, “That's not something that we're concerned about,” a lack
of concern that can be equated with not expecting a negative court
on July 1, Ms.
Atkinson said “the Romanian authorities have identified other
measures... What we look at is an overall package, not specifying one
measure or another.” She noted that the IMF Board will consider
Romania on July 2. Watch this site.
* * *
Dodges on Romania, Pakistan, Sri
Lanka and Rwanda
With the International Monetary Fund's deal with
the Greek government being followed, so far, by five deaths in
protests, the IMF's fortnightly press briefing on Thursday not
surprisingly focused on Greece. IMF spokesperson Caroline Atkinson
emphasized that the austerity moves were the decision of the
government, not the IMF. She promised a press availability by
Dominique Strauss-Kahn after the IMF board's meeting on Sunday, on
which phasing of the Fund's second largest program ever will be
decided and announced.
met with surprise, and Ms. Atkinson answered
few of them. Inner City Press submitted four questions, only two of
which were allowed. Neither question was answered.
Pakistan, was Greece related in that experts have predicted violent
reactions. Inner City Press submitted this question:
say that the govt has not prepared the
public for the value added tax, that "the taxpayers... could
resort to agitation and may even close down markets." What does
the IMF say about VAT, the government's preparing of the people for
it, and possibility of more IMF related violence?"
to try to get an answer, Inner City Press submitted
this, which was read out:
are requiring that: in Romania, is IMF prepared to
lift the country's budget deficit cap? How is the IMF's approach to
Romania impacted by events in Greece?"
Atkinson said that since there are negotiations -- in fact, the IMF
mission is staying two extra days -- she would not comment. Then,
generically, she said that IMF decisions are always impacted by other
events, as well as being country specific. But of course!
Sri Lanka, Inner
City Press asked "is the IMF waiting for the so called mini
budget for the rest of 2010 before considering the next tranche, and
what does the IMF res rep [Koshy Mathai] mean by 'cutting inefficient
important for the IMF to spell out or define this last, but Ms.
Atkinson did not. Perhaps some later written response will arrive.
One was promised to the last of the questions which Inner City Press
submitted, which for some reason was mediated or edited by IMF staff.
Greece on fire, IMF not shown
there is another question coming through, although I will have to
answer it afterwards. Without attribution, she read out "On
Rwanda, what is the status of the IMF's consideration of a Policy
Support Instrument?" She then said that she did not know.
Kigali, IMF resident representative Dmitry Gershenson was quoted two
days ago as having agreed to the PSI. And in Sri Lanka, res rep Koshi
Mathai's statements remain unexplained.
come back to
Romania, the question Ms. Aktinson read out but would not answer,
Reuters has already quoted sources that the deficit budget cap will
be lifted. While the details may have to be worked out, wouldn't it
seem important, including to "support, or I mean fight,
contagion," to make clear that the IMF is at least temporarily
showing flexibility to Greece's neighbors? Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
are listed here,
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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