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Greece debt crisis: IMF payment deadline missed as bailout expires



By NewsGram Staff Writer

Hours after eurozone ministers refused to extend its bailout, Greece has missed the deadline for a €1.6bn (£1.1bn) payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The failure in payment was confirmed by the IMF on Tuesday at around 22:00 Greenwich Mean Time(GMT).

With the loan default, Greece becomes the first advanced country to fail to repay a loan to the IMF and is now formally in arrears.

Greece no longer has access to billions of euros in funds and there are concerns that the default could put Greece at risk of leaving the euro.

“We have informed our Executive Board that Greece is now in arrears and can only receive IMF financing once the arrears are cleared,” said IMF spokesman Gerry Rice.

Earlier, Eurogroup chairman and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said it would be “crazy” to extend the Greek bailout beyond its Tuesday midnight expiration after Athens refused to accept the European proposals on the table.

“A Greek request for a new €29.1bn European aid programme would be considered later”, the minister added after the conference call with other eurozone ministers.

One of Greece’s “troika” of creditors along with the IMF and the eurozone’s European Central Bank, the European Commission wants Athens to raise taxes and cut welfare spending to meet its debt obligations.

Meanwhile, amid fears of a Greek default on its huge public debt of €323bn, people have queued at cash machines but the withdrawals have been capped at just €60 a day.

However, up to 1,000 bank branches will re-open from Wednesday to allow pensioners – many of whom do not use bank cards – to withdraw up to €120.

The announcements come after talks between Greece and its creditors broke down earlier this week.

Following the breakdown of talks, demonstrations–some calling for a “yes” and others urging a “no” vote to the referendum over agreeing to creditors proposals–have been held by the pro-European and pro-Greece protesters outside the Greek parliament in Athens.

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IMF: Empowering Women Is Smart Economics

IMF says, Getting more women into formal workforce is priority for India

Ken Kang
Ken Kang. IANS

India must focus as a priority on ensuring that more women work in the formal sector as it continues with labour reforms, according to Ken Kang, the deputy director in International Monetary Fund (IMF) Asia Pacific Department.

While “in recent years India has made very impressive progress in reforms,” he said that “looking ahead there are important policy priorities” and listed three among them.

“One, is to continue improvements in product and labour market reforms with a focus on increasing formal female labour participation to improve the business environment, and reduce complex regulations, but also to address supply bottlenecks, particularly in the agricultural sector and distribution networks,” Kang said at a news conference on Friday in Washington.

As one of India’s major reform achievements, he mentioned the “introduction of flexible inflation targeting and of a statutory monetary policy which has helped to strengthen the monetary policy framework.”

Working woman
Working woman. Pixabay

The Reserve Bank of India Act was amended in 2016, to provide for a Monetary Policy Committee that decides on the interest rate required for achieving the inflation target set by the government in consultation with the bank.

The other achievements include the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the “major recapitalisation plan for the public-sector banks in order to accelerate the work out of nonperforming loans, as well as made some important legal improvements through a new insolvency and bankruptcy law,” Kang said.

“We expect and hope that the reform momentum continues,” he added.

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“We are not saying that India’s structural reform speed will slow down because of elections,” Changyong Rhee, the IMF director of the Asia Pacific Department said.

“What we are saying is that the growth momentum and the structural reform momentum should continue despite the election period. So there is something misquoted,” he added.

On Thursday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde had said at a news conference on Thursday, according to the IMF transcript: “We have seen and we are seeing — I am not sure that we will be seeing in the next few months given the elections that are coming up — major reforms that we had recommended and advocated for a long time.”  IANS

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