Quota Changes, Spin War Emerges, IMF Role in Debt of Sudan
November 18 -- After the International Monetary Fund's board
agreed on November 5 to move six percent of powers to developing
countries, the IMF says that “most commentary was positive.”
when Inner City Press asked UN Assistant Secretary-General for
Economic Affairs Jomo Kwame Sundaram about it on November 16, he said
that two thirds of the six percent comes from “other developing
countries,” and that the quota system should be further reformed.
from Minute 21:30.
biweekly briefing on November 18, Inner City Press asked IMF
spokesperson Caroline Atkinson about this criticism. She said she
wasn't aware of it (since “most commentary was positive”) and
argued that 80% came from “advanced economies” and the rest from
“a small number of oil producing” countries which she said are
technically classified as developing.
said that of the 187 members, 110 countries saw their quotas
increase, 102 of them emerging and dynamic countries -- another
euphemism for developing?
different views of the changes turn on how one defines developing.
While the UN often mis-classifies these, to rely entirely on the IMF
to assess the seriousness of IMF reforms also seems unwise.
also submitted two country specific question, the first of which on
Sudan Ms. Atkinson read out and acknowledged, promising a later
both Hillary Clinton and the UK's William Hague on Nov 16 said
they are in talks about reducing the national debt as an incentive
for the Southern Sudan secession referendum scheduled for January 9.
Is the IMF involved in any such talks? Can the IMF play any role in
reducing Sudan's debt?
UK's Hague and US Clinton, on Sudan debt talks, IMF not shown
Republic of Congo, what is the IMF's reaction to the
shortfall in Paris Club debt reduction (“82.4 percent reduction of
Congo's debt stock, short of the 90 percent target”) and to the
pace of reforms in the DRC?
* * *
Hardball in Pakistan on Textiles & Tax, IMF Silent, on Ukraine
By Matthew Russell Lee
4 -- After the floods in
International Monetary Fund said it was much concerned, was only
waiting for a joint assessment mission in order to consider how to
help the country.
an IMF team in
Islamabad is back to playing hard ball, about not only the country's
utilities but now its textile sector.
November 4 briefing, Inner City Press submitted two questions,
the ongoing humanitarian situation in Pakistan, please explain report
that “IMF has turned down Pakistan’s request to exempt textile
sector from Reformed General Sales Tax.”
spokesperson Caroline Atkinson merely said that with an IMF team in
the country, she would not comment. But Pakistani officials have been
speaking, off the record, about the IMF's demands.
Pakistan after floods, IMF hardball on textiles & tax not shown
also submitted this question, while Ms. Atkinson was still speaking:
Ukraine, some 2000 small businesses have protested tax increases on
them, which they blame on the IMF. What is the IMF's response?”
the following arrived:
Mr. Lee: Regarding your question on Ukraine that came in after the
briefing was concluded please be advised that the following can be
attributed to an IMF spokesperson:
IMF supports the modernization of the tax system in Ukraine in a
manner that is consistent with medium term fiscal sustainability. An
IMF mission is currently in Kyiv for the first review under the
Stand-By Arrangement. The mission will be discussing with the
authorities the draft tax code to ensure that is consistent with the
program and promotes the rationalization of the tax system, broadens
the tax base, and strengthens tax compliance”.
2000 protesters. Watch this site.
* * *
IMF from Debt Relief, EU Stalls GPS+, Ripert
-- As at the UN countries jostled to give
speeches about past contributions to Pakistan, Inner City Press asked
UK International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell about the IMF's
requirement that Pakistan not seek any relief of its $500 million a
year in debt payments in exchange for a $450 million loan.
debt service is “only 3% of its gross national
income.” He said he was sure negotiations would continue on the
a letter submitted to the IMF on September 10 by State Bank
Governor Shahid Hafiz Kardar and Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez
Shaikh committed, at the IMF's demand
make sure Pakistan’s international trade and financial relations
continue to function normally, we will not impose any restrictions on
payments and transfers for current international transactions nor
introduce any trade restrictions or enter into any bilateral payment
agreements that are inconsistent with Article VIII of the Fund’s
Articles of Agreement.”
Pakistan's foreign minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi about
this, and he replied that his country's finance minister is speaking
with the World Bank, the IMF and Asia Development Bank and he is
“sure he will take it [debt relief] up with them at the appropriate
he and the
country appear precluded from taking it up, by the IMF's own demands.
asked Mitchell about whether the EU will grant Pakistan GSP Plus
trade benefits. Mitchell made much of his Prime Minister Cameron
pushing for this, but the EU has yet to move on it, reportedly due to
protectionist opposition by France, Italy, Poland and Portugal (which
is seeking a UN Security Council seat). It was impossible to ask the
EU, as Catherine Ashton unceremoniously canceled her scheduled
the side of
Minister Lectureship’s stakeout, against his will, stood UN envoy
Jean-Maurice Ripert. He had refused to speak to the Press outside the
General Assembly's pledging session on Pakistan, and this time had to
be summoned after Secretary General Ban Ki-moon left without taking
questions, due to the need to swear in Michelle Bachelet at the head
of UN Women.
Ripert, by name, to explain his and the UN's failure to push
for humanitarian access to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
including Waziristan. Ripert tried to get OCHA's Valerie Amos to
answer in his stead, but Inner City Press said Ms. Amos had already
taken the question last week. (Ms. Amos later on Monday introduced
and praised her previous UK colleague Andrew Mitchell in a way some
correspondents found noteworthy, “like Le Roy and the French,”
microphone and offered nothing but praise for the government, then
referred to “security issues,” saying it is “quite normal that
the UN has to discuss with the government” issues of access.
Qureshi with Ripert in a previously life, IMF and
Ripert's dodges not shown
not had access in Darfur to parts of Jebel Marra since February,
the UN and NGOs have been denied access to Wazirstan. And what has
the UN and Ripert done?
avoiding the Press for days. On September 17, greeted
by Inner City Press, he scowled and walked away, smoking a long white
cigarette. Later he was seen chatting euphorically on his cell phone
in the UN's Vienna Cafe. On Sunday evening he was on CNN
International saying that the floods have impacted an area “as
large as Italy.” Some in the Pakistani press corps have stories of
Ripert in the Alps -- others say Geneva -- but everywhere but
Pakistan. Watch this site.