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24.10.2008 Business & Finance

IMF to rescue countries hit by global financial turmoil

By Stephen Odoi Larbi - Ghanaian Chronicle
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday announced its readiness to lend billions of dollars to support nations hit by fallout from the global financial turmoil. It is currently holding talks with several countries about possible new lending programs. Countries to benefit from the IMF's loan packages include Hungary, Iceleand, Pakistan and Ukraine. It is also in discussions with a number of other countries about possible financing needs, and is providing confidential policy advice to governments in emerging and developing economies on how to adapt to the current turmoil. According to the IMF, it would also begin discussions with Belarus and see how best to address their needs. “I have been on the phone with leaders in several capitals who have asked the Fund for assistance. We now have mission teams in some of these countries assessing their needs and, where asked to do, discussing programs that could be supported by an IMF loan,” says IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn. “We are actively engaged at this critical time with several governments around the world, both to provide technical economic advice and financing, if necessary. We are ready to act very quickly, with streamlined conditions attached,” he noted. Strauss-Kahn said on Wednesday in a statement that an IMF mission would soon begin discussions with Pakistan's authorities on a program aimed at strengthening economic stability and enhancing confidence in the financial system. The amount of Fund financing under a Stand-By Arrangement had yet to be determined. Financing could be made within framework of the Fund's Emergency Financing Mechanism, Strauss-Kahn added. The IMF has recently activated the mechanism—a procedure for speeding up lending in a crisis—which has been used six times previously since it was set up in 1995.