IMF chief coming to see how PH can helpBy Michelle V. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Christine Lagarde will visit the country this month to discuss the role of emerging economies in helping resolve global economic woes.
The IMF made the announcement as it scheduled meetings between its top official and the Philippines’ key government officials. The IMF managing director will also meet the Philippine media in a press conference.
Lagarde is also expected to reiterate IMF support for the reforms being pushed by the Philippine government to accelerate the domestic economy’s growth.
These reforms include higher taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, the lifting of unnecessary tax incentives for businesses, and administrative measures to shore up tax collection.
The IMF likewise supports calls to amend the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) charter with the aim of further improving its ability to manage liquidity within the economy and to supervise the country’s banks.
In particular, the BSP wants to be able to trade its own bonds and have its examiners exempted from the Deposit Secrecy Law to better determine irregularities in bank transactions, among other things.
Unlike some countries visited by IMF officials, the Philippines is not expected to seek financial assistance from Legarde. The country, which has $82 billion in foreign exchange reserves, is now a creditor to the IMF.
In June, the BSP said the country was lending $1 billion to the IMF, which would use the money to help crisis-stricken economies in the euro zone.
Lagarde’s visit to Manila follows her trips to other Asian countries. She went to China and India in March, and Indonesia, Japan and Thailand in July.
Lagarde is the first woman managing director of the IMF. She began her five-year term as head of the IMF in July last year following the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Prior to her stint as IMF managing director, Lagarde held various positions in the French government. She was the first woman finance minister for a G8 economy.
In 2009, the Financial Times named her best finance minister in the euro zone. In 2011, she was ranked by Forbes magazine as the 8th most powerful woman in the world.