Cen­tral bankers, fi­nance min­is­ters meet in Washington to tackle global econ­omy

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS - By LAWRENCE AGCAOILI

WASHINGTON — About 189 cen­tral bank gov­er­nors and fi­nance min­is­ters con­verged here to dis­cuss ways to sus­tain global growth and at the same time ad­dress risks dur­ing the An­nual Spring Meet­ings of the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group.

IMF man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Christine La­garde said in a press brief­ing the gloal econ­omy is gain­ing mo­men­tum and ex­pected to grow 3.5 per­cent this year and 3.5 per­cent next year from 3.1 per­cent last year as it is be­ing “warmed by rays of sen­si­ble poli­cies that are now bear­ing fruit in many coun­tries.”

“Spring is in the air. There was a bit of rain this morn­ing, but spring is in the air and spring is in the econ­omy as well. We are fi­nally see­ing the global econ­omy pick­ing up the mo­men­tum that we hope is go­ing to be sus­tained in the medium and longer term,” La­garde said.

The An­nual Spring Meet­ings of the IMF/WB is likened to the Os­cars as it bring to­gether cen­tral bankers, fi­nance min­is­ters, pri­vate sec­tor ex­ec­u­tives, civil so­ci­ety, and aca­demics to dis­cuss is­sues of global con­cerns. The Philip­pine del­e­ga­tion is led by Bangko Sen­tral ng Pilip­inas Gov­er­nor Amando Te­tangco Jr., Fi­nance Un­der­sec­re­tary Gil Bel­tran, and So­cioe­co­nomic Plan­ning Sec­re­tary Ernesto Per­nia.

La­garde said there is a need to make sure the mo­men­tum is sus­tained and shared more eq­ui­tably while tak­ing note of down­side risks that in­clude po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty.

“Well, with 189 rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the mem­ber­ship, fi­nance min­is­ters, gov­er­nors of cen­tral banks, we will be dis­cussing how we can sus­tain that mo­men­tum; how, ir­re­spec­tive of po­lit­i­cal cy­cles, we can make sure that our global econ­omy is more re­silient; how it is rooted in stronger growth, more in­clu­sive growth and with good co­op­er­a­tion among all,” she said.

La­garde said the first pri­or­ity is to main­tain the growth mo­men­tum us­ing the tra­di­tional fis­cal, mon­e­tary, struc­tural re­form tools that we put to­gether as the three?pronged ap­proach which has to be tai­lored to each coun­try’s speci­ficity.

She also stressed the need to rein­vig­o­rate pro­duc­tiv­ity by boost­ing in­no­va­tion and trade as well as mak­ing global growth more in­clu­sive within coun­tries, across coun­tries and be­tween gen­er­a­tions.

La­garde said economies should make tax and ben­e­fit systems more eq­ui­table, boost high-qual­ity in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment, and mit­i­gate the im­pact of the struc­tural changes that are tak­ing place.

Fur­ther­more the IMF chief said there is a need to pro­tect fu­ture gen­er­a­tions against im­pru­dent ac­tions of to­day’s gen­er­a­tion that in­clude ex­ces­sive debt bur­den, un­sus­tain­able pen­sion schemes, poor or not main­tained in­fra­struc­ture and the im­pact of cli­mate change.

La­garde added there is a need for stronger co­op­er­a­tion across coun­tries to help re­duce ex­ces­sive ex­ter­nal im­bal­ances, clamp down on tax eva­sion and tax avoid­ance.

“All coun­tries, of course, should guard against what I have called self-in­flicted wounds, such as re­stric­tions, sub­si­dies, and other trade dis­tor­tions that re­duce com­pe­ti­tion and eco­nomic open­ness,” she said.

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