From VOA news:
“Haiti’s PM Steps Down Over Fuel Prices, Violence
July 14, 2018 6:29 PM VOA News
Haiti’s prime minister resigned Saturday after days of protest over the government’s plan to raise fuel prices.
Jack Guy Lafontant announced to the lower house of Haiti’s legislature: “I submitted my resignation to the president of the republic,” and he confirmed that the president had accepted his resignation.
Haiti has been in turmoil since last week, when the government announced plans for major increases in the prices of gasoline, diesel and kerosene.
The announcement led to riots that resulted in at least four deaths.
The government ended up calling off the price increases, but the political upheaval resulted in a no-confidence vote Saturday in the lower house of parliament.
The U.S. State Department has issued a “do not travel” warning to U.S. citizens as a result of the unrest in Haiti.“https://www.voanews.com/a/haiti-s-pm-steps-down-over-fuel-prices-violence/4483003.html
“The government has effectively blocked any investigation into where some $3.8 billion disappeared from the PetroCaribe fund, drawn from revenues from the sale of cheap Venezuelan petroleum products. An unpopular budget drawn up last year taxes the poor and even expatriate Haitians…” Read more here: “Nationwide Popular Uprising Calls for President Jovenel Moïse’s Removal“, by Kim Ives, July 11, 2018 https://haitiliberte.com/nationwide-popular-uprising-calls-for-president-jovenel-moises-removal (Kim Ives has been writing about Haiti for over 30 years.)
Now, it seems, the US isn’t the only country which fails to provide jobs to its people and then wants to tax them abroad. Increasingly, Haiti and the US are twins. Too bad that Trump can’t be removed with a simple no confidence vote.
Excerpted from “Transcript of IMF Press Briefing”, July 12, 2018
“By way of background, the international community including the IMF has been working closely with the Haitian authorities to put in place economic policies, a reform program that would lay the foundation for sustainable inclusive growth for the people of Haiti. So, in this context, the Haitian authorities and the IMF agreed earlier this year in March on what we call a staff monitored program. Which is a way the Fund supports member countries to improve their policy implementation without providing direct financing. So it’s not a traditional program which includes financing, it’s a staff monitored program which we hope helps to provide a framework to facilitate deeper financial engagement from the international community from other donors so it is a means of supporting the member country.
So, you know, getting to the questions. An important part of this reform plan was indeed to strengthen revenues which would allow the Haitian government to provide for badly needed public investment and a better social safety net. In that context, the Haitian authorities recognize that generalized fuel subsidies put a significant strain on Haiti’s fiscal accounts. They disproportionately benefit the well off and they prevent other priority spending on items such as health and education. So that’s important because that’s the objective behind addressing the fuel subsidy issue is to free up the fiscal space to be able to spend on other priorities including important social priorities.
So going forward is the question about, you know, what is the status of the IMF’s relationship now and the status of the program. Going forward, we will continue to support Haiti. We will continue to stand by Haiti and to cooperate closely with the authorities as they develop a revised reform strategy. And discussions are ongoing with the authorities what we would expect that the revised reform program would include at least two important elements that I would like to highlight. One would be a more gradual approach to reducing the fuel subsidies. And two, it would be ensuring the implementation of compensatory and mitigating measures to protect the most vulnerable people.
A third important point is that we hope that by implementing this revised reform strategy, this can help unlock additional support, continued engagement of the international community and other development partners, including the IMF.
So, this is a major objective as far as we are concerned to try and mobilize additional support to help Haiti through this difficult period that it’s facing.
Maybe just one, add one other point, that when the reform program had been discussed the authorities had been working towards some of these compensatory mitigating measures that I had talked about and, you know, to help cushion the impact of the reduction of subsidies, so some of these things included very targeted assistance measures like transport vouchers, and other support programs, and I mention that because we would expect that these kinds of targeted compensatory measures, as I said, would be part of the revised reform program…” http://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2018/07/12/tr071218-transcript-of-imf-press-briefing
“Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigns
After IMF-mandated fuel price hikes triggered riots that resulted in at least four deaths, Haitian PM Guy Lafontant has resigned. Now the president is searching for a way to appease consumers, politicians and economists.” https://www.dw.com/en/haitian-prime-minister-jack-guy-lafontant-resigns/a-44678827