Jo Kuper in Washington writes: In an extraordinary demonstration of the IMF’s habitual bullying of poor countries, and its opposition to democratic scrutiny of its activities, senior IMF staff threw two MPs out of the meeting of the Group of 24 Ministers from Developing Countries on Friday 23 September. Dr. Dradjad Wibowo MP from Indonesia and Hon. Mohammed Jagri MP from Ghana had been invited to attend the meeting by the G24 Secretariat to present a petition calling for democratic oversight of World Bank and IMF policies, and to question World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and IMF Managing Director Rodrigo Rato. The petition has been signed by over 1000 MPs from 54 parliaments and is supported by a broad range of civil society groups.
The MPs were removed on the orders of the IMF’s parliamentary liaison officer Patrick Cricillo, and Mr. Parmeshwa Ramlogan, an advisor to Mr. Rato. The IMF tried to justify their actions on the grounds that they believed the MPs did not have permission to attend the meetings, but did not even check with the G24 Chair, Mr. Paul Toungui first. When his staff informed him about what had happened, Mr. Toungui ensured the MPs were allowed back in, but it was too late for them to deliver their petition.
Despite promising to let poor countries determine their own paths to development, the World Bank and IMF continue to impose economic conditions like privatisation and trade liberalisation in exchange for debt relief, loans, and aid. In so doing they often over-ride national parliaments, undermine democracy and increase poverty. At the meeting the MPs had intended to call on all ministers to work together to ensure there is proper parliamentary scrutiny of all IMF and World Bank activities in their countries, and that the will of parliament is respected.
“It should beggar belief for the
IMF to throw MPs out of a poor country ministers’ meeting to stop them
presenting a petition calling for democratic accountability of the IMF itself.
In fact this is just one more demonstration of how the IMF actively undermines
democracy in poor countries, by riding roughshod over governments, parliaments
and the people they represent. How can the IMF preach transparency and accountability
to poor countries when they behave like this? said Hon. Mohammed Jagri MP (