Oxfam blasts IMF over failure to properly address inequality in its ‘2021 comprehensive surveillance review’

Oxfam said on Thursday it was “deeply disappointed” by the failure of the executive board of the International Monetary Fund to give a higher priority to inequality in its “2021 comprehensive surveillance review.”

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“We welcome that the Fund has updated its approach to policy advice at this pivotal time. However, we are deeply disappointed that, despite the Fund’s repeated warnings about the disastrous effects of rising inequality, this Review misses a crucial opportunity to require staff to advise countries on policies to tackle inequality or systematically assess the impacts on inequality of its own recommendations,” said Nabil Abdo, Oxfam’s Senior Policy Advisor on International Financial Institutions. “Conducting these assessments only under certain circumstances is simply not enough.”

The organization added: “Despite the IMF’s Fiscal Monitor lauding the importance of taxing wealthy individuals and corporations and committing to prioritizing progressive taxation to help bring down income inequality and pay for the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, both are glaringly absent from the Review.

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“We are encouraged that the Review clearly enhances the IMF’s attention to climate adaptation and transition risks, yet much more could be done to integrate these issues more systematically into policy advice. It is also extremely worrying that the Board appears to have sidelined the gender equality agenda that current and former Managing Directors have championed.

“Overall, we are frustrated that this Review was conducted without genuine civil society consultation. It has failed to provide any clear discussion ―let alone commitments― about the absolute need to strengthen engagement with civil society at the country level where the IMF’s policy advice has far-reaching, often painful, impacts.”

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