Business Hilights
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‘New IMF chief, Georgieva may be harder on Nigeria than outgoing Lagarde’

Strong indications have emerged suggesting that the incoming chief executive of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), former World Bank chief and Bulgarian export, Ms. Kristalina Georgieva may not only adopt but step up the hard stand on Nigerian policies by Christine Lagarde, who stepped down to assume the role of President of the European Central Bank.

Business Hilights recalls that Georgieva emerged the new boss last week after the Executive Board of the multilateral institution unanimously selected her to be the 12th top chief of the Fund since its inception in 1944, for a five-year term, starting on October 1.

It is important to recall that during her reign, Lagarde had prevailed on the Federal Government to among other things float naira and do away with fuel subsidy which she said is soaking away fund for infrastructure development into invisible endless private pockets in the system.

Signal to her possible stand on this particular can be decoded when she averred in her preliminary address weekend that “..We should not lose sight of our long-term objective – to support sound monetary, fiscal and structural policies to build stronger economies and improve people’s lives.”

Earlier, the former interim president for the World Bank Group (February 1, 2019 to April 8, 2019) had told IMF Board officials that “I am deeply honored to have been selected as Managing Director of the IMF and grateful for the trust that the Fund’s global membership and the Executive Board have placed in me.

“I want to pay tribute to my predecessor, Christine Lagarde, a great leader and a dear friend, whose vision and tireless work have contributed so much to the continued success of the Fund.

“The IMF is a unique institution with a great history and a world-class staff. I come as a firm believer in its mandate to help ensure the stability of the global economic and financial system through international cooperation. Indeed, in my view, the Fund’s role has never been more important.

“It is a huge responsibility to be at the helm of the IMF at a time when global economic growth continues to disappoint, trade tensions persist, and debt is at historically high levels.

“As I noted in my statement to the Executive Board, our immediate priority is to help countries minimize the risk of crises and be ready to cope with downturns. Yet, we should not lose sight of our long-term objective – to support sound monetary, fiscal and structural policies to build stronger economies and improve people’s lives. This means also dealing with issues like inequalities, climate risks, and rapid technological change.

“For our readiness to act, safeguarding the Fund’s financial strength is essential, and so are enhancing its surveillance and capacity development efforts. Working with my team, my goal is to further strengthen the Fund by making it even more forward-looking and attentive to the needs of our members.

“I look forward to working with all our 189-member countries, the Executive Board and staff, and with all our partners in the years ahead,” she averred.

Available statistics showed that Georgieva had started international duties since 2010 at the European Commission, where she served as Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, then as Vice President for Budget and Human Resources.