Listening to Voices: The IMF’s Dialogue with Civil Society


By Caroline Atkinson

The IMF has made a concerted effort to engage more actively with civil society organizations in recent years. This is part of a broader effort to be more transparent and accountable to the broader public in our member countries.

So, an emphasis on change at the 2010 IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings provided the perfect opportunity to break new ground in our relationship with civil society. Continue reading

Fair and Substantial—Taxing the Financial Sector


By Carlo Cottarelli

(Version in 日本語  )

We knew we were in for a tough time when the leaders of the Group of Twenty (G-20) asked the IMF to give them our views, at their summit coming up in June 2010, on  “… the range of options countries have adopted or are considering as to how the financial sector could make a fair and substantial contribution toward paying for any burden associated with government interventions to repair the banking system.”

Everyone has strong feelings these days on the taxation of the financial sector. Taxpayers who financed the rescue of the financial sector during the recent crisis want their money back—or at least not to get caught again. Some want to see more of the money coursing through the financial system turned to public use.

The industry worries about new taxes coming on top of the swathe of regulatory reforms that likely lies ahead for them. And some governments in countries whose financial sector weathered the storm pretty well wonder why they should now ask it for cash. Responding to the request from the G-20 leaders puts us in the middle of all these concerns.

Last week the IMF gave an interim report to the G-20 finance ministers focused on the specific question we were asked: what are the options in raising money from the financial sector to pay for the costs of government intervention from which it benefits. That report is confidential, but—you may have noticed—has still managed to attract a lot of attention.  So let me set out how our thinking on this stands.

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More to Do on Financial Sector Tax, Says IMF’s Lipsky


In an interview from Davos, Switzerland, the IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director John Lipsky said that although the mood among delegates is more upbeat than it was one year ago during the crisis, people still have concerns about the resilience of the economic recovery.

In its latest world economic outlook, released just ahead of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, the IMF is forecasting that world growth will bounce back from negative territory in 2009 to 3.9 percent this year and 4.3 percent in 2011.

Lipsky also said it was clear that decision makers feel under intense political pressure to act on financial sector regulation. A consensus on how to move ahead on a financial sector tax hasn’t emerged yet, but Lipsky said that a process initiated by the G-20 industrialized and emerging market countries will play a key role in making decisions about the issue.

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