IMF watchdog calls for fund to be more consistent on international issues

5 Sep 17

The International Monetary Fund’s Independent Evaluation Office has called for more consistency in the way the fund approaches issues that spread across several countries.

The IEO’s annual report, published last week, noted that in the last year its two main reports had been on the IMF and Social Protection and the fund’s role in the financial crises in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal.

Introducing the report, IEO director Charles Collyns said the work on social protection lay outside the IMF’s traditional mandate but, “the fund has been paying increasing attention given the realisation that protection of vulnerable groups can often be key to sustaining macroeconomic stability”.

Collyns said the depth of attention given by the IMF was “found to vary quite considerably across countries.

“To some extent this is justified by differences in country circumstances and the availability of expertise outside the fund.

“But there are also variations that seem more idiosyncratic, where attention may depend on staff preferences and interest, and country officials raised concern that IMF value added was sometimes limited.”

He called for a clearer strategic framework for deciding on the extent of IMF involvement.

The report said financial surveillance, unconventional monetary policies and fragile states would form the basis of the IEO’s work for the coming year.

Work in progress included an evaluation of the IMF’s activities in fragile states.

This will analyse the IMF’s policy advice, programme design and capacity building. In these countries and how the fund interacts with external stakeholders.

A second major project concerns evaluation of the IMF’s financial surveillance since the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008, looking at the relevance, quality, and effectiveness of this work.

Preliminary work has started on an evaluation of IMF advice on unconventional monetary policies.

It will look both at major advanced economies pursuing unconventional monetary policies and to the affects of such policies on other countries.

IEO staff conduct independent and objective evaluations of the IMF’s policies, activities, and products. 

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