Government urged not to ink any deal with IMF
September 18, 2007
Star Business Report
Speakers at a discussion in Dhaka yesterday asked the government not to sign any agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to protect the country's interests.
Referring to the PSI (policy support instrument) agreement proposed by the IMF, they said any kind of parley and revision with the IMF should be transparent and accountable and the government must make public the outcome of any such negotiation.
The country's interest should get priority in case of inking any deal with any international financial or donor agency, they suggested, also asking the government not to go by any diktat from either the IMF or the World Bank (WB).
The suggestions came at the discussion on Transparency and Accountability of International Financial Institutions organised by Voices for Interactive Choice and Empowerment (Voice).
Professor Anu Mohammad of the Economics Department at Jahangirnagar University said the problems being faced by different sectors such as jute and energy have been caused by interventions from the two multilateral lending agencies.
"We have to oppose this and create a pressure on the government so that it can come out of the clutches of the IMF and WB," he said. "Poverty is not the problem, the problem is we have no control on our own resources," he said, making a remark that IMF and WB can never compensate the loss the country has suffered from the conditional assistance provided by the international financial institutions. Professor Badiul Alam Majumder, country director of The Hunger Project, said assistance from the IMF and WB could not play an effective role as these were provided for the wrong sectors. He, however, said the government can receive financial support from the international agencies only for science and technological development, but the assistance must be condition-free.
Professor Gias Karim of Brac University said the IMF and WB are not separate institutions; they are a part of global capitalism.
"The two organisations have been created as part of US militarism so that their interests can be served," he said.
Voice Executive Director Ahmed Swapan Mahmud presented a keynote paper at the discussion.