By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has emphasised the need to maintain supportive fiscal and monetary policies until the world is out of the health crisis caused by Covid-19.
IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, said this could be done while increasingly targeting households and businesses that were most in need.
Ms Georgieva said fiscal packages and liquidity support had protected incomes and livelihoods, and the financial sector.
She said this included timely and innovative measures such as tax exemptions and deferrals, cash transfers, and subsidies to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Ms Georgieva said countries could then start shifting support away to firms that were likely to succeed and to individuals most in need.
She said this at the Meeting of the Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
“First, continue doing what you know works. Keep investing in health systems. Maintain supportive fiscal and monetary policies until we are out of the woods of the health crisis.
“Diversifying government revenue, something that you have already started; and making spending more efficient. Diversifying and greening your economies. Creating opportunities, especially for young people and women,” Ms Georgieva said.
The IMF, she said, would develop the needed policies, to help economies stress test their medium-term financial frameworks.
Ms Georgieva said the IMF was very keen to continue working on social spending for inclusive growth in the region.
“We also count on you for camaraderie with poor countries, especially the fragile states that are in your neighbourhood. We count on you to help us help them make your region more secure. “Working together in this very difficult environment can help us find the way up this mountain we are climbing in this crisis,” she said.
By BUUMBA CHIMBULU