Sunday, 21 November 2010

A sneak pre-view of the 4-year plan

Slí Eile: An interesting insight from former IMF director, Donal Donovan, is given here. He writes in the Irish Times, last Friday, that:

"These informal interactions – a common feature of such situations – are facilitated by the fact that most of the key personages are well known to each other as a result of interaction in other forums over the years.

So, my surmise is that yesterday the IMF team (which includes Ashoka Mody, who has led earlier IMF visits to Dublin) will have sat down with the latest drafts of the four-year and annual budget plan. (They will probably have had access to earlier versions also.)" (emphasis added)."

But what about Dáil Eireann? and what about Seán Citizen? A vital input to democratic debate is timely, relevant and reliable information. We have been poorly served on all three fronts. See for example a critique of the lack of adequate macro-economic data and forecasting capacity in the recent Joint Oireachtas Committee report here. Note, also, the extent to which false and misleading information served up the banks was cited as an issue by Fianna Fáil deputy Michael McGrath in a Dail committee hearing last Thursday. Misleading estimates of bad loans and underestimated discout rates costing billions have also been cited as a problem by Brendan Somers of NAMA.

1 comment:

Nat O`Connor said...

Continuing on the theme of who knows what and when, the Minister for Finance made a couple of revealing comments on RTÉ 1's Morning Ireland today (22 Nov 2010, between c.08:15/20 and 08:30).

He explained that the IMF team had been given high level briefings on the content of the four-year plan, but had not seen the full detail of it. This supports the analysis that the IMF will not be dictating the contents of the next austerity budgets, but that the Government will be making the key decisions about who should bear the burden.

More significantly, he explained that Ministers for Finance are traditionally secretive. So much so that the details of tax changes in the Budget are not made available to the rest of the Government until the morning of Budget Day (on a 'take it or leave it' basis, by the sounds of things).

So whatever tax measures are taken in the Budget - whether they are progressive or regressive - the responsibility for the major part of these decisions rests squarely with the Minister for Finance.