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Opinion

IMF reacts to O’Neill’s comments

       
Paul O'Neill

The IMF is making changes to pacify the Bush administration after new US treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill, sounded a note of scepticism about the role of supranational organizations in the capital markets. O'Neill stated on February 15 that he attaches particular priority to a "transparent and accountable" IMF. O'Neill sees the IMF's role as one of a watchdog in the markets, alerting governments to growing problems before they fully develop.


On the same day, the IMF established a section on its website dedicated to financial disclosure, staff ethics and dispute resolution. In this apparent attempt to reposition itself with the values of the new US administration, the IMF says the website is "part of the IMF's continuing commitment to enhanced transparency in its operations."


The IMF is clearly worried by comments that O'Neill has made. The treasury secretary has questioned the value of financial intervention to prevent sudden downturns, such as those in 1997 and 1998, when the IMF lent billions of dollars to the Russian and Asian governments to prevent further collapse in the capital markets.



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