Middle East: IMF chief calls for austerity measures

Almost all Arab countries have posted budget deficits over the past few years


APP February 11, 2018
PHOTO: REUTERS

DUBAI: International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde urged Arab countries on Saturday to slash public wages and subsidies in order to rein in spending, achieve sustainable growth and create jobs. Speaking at the one-day Arab Fiscal Forum in Dubai, Lagarde welcomed “promising” reforms adopted by some Arab countries, but insisted much more was needed to overcome daunting economic and social problems. Low oil prices are weighing on the finances of Arab oil exporters, while importers are battling with rising debt, unemployment, conflicts, terrorism and refugee inflows, the IMF’s managing director said. Almost all Arab countries have posted budget deficits over the past few years and Arab economies grew at just 1.9% last year, half the global rate, according to the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), which co-organised the event with the IMF.  

Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2018.

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