COMMENT: The 4 key points of the IMF report
So what do you need to know about the IMF report on Ireland?
A few key points are made.
**1. The IMF ups its support for a deal to restructure the portion of Ireland's national debt relating to the bank bailout.**
It casts this as an essential to our recovery and exit from the bail out. In particular, it points to the benefits for Ireland of the EU rescue fund buying stakes in the active banks currently held by the government. This would move debt off our national balance sheet. Although if the rescue fund only pays current value for the loans this may not amount to too much.
**2. The IMF nods to our well-performing programme but it is clear it is worried.**
In particular, it warns that if growth does not pick up our ratio of debt to GDP could rise sharply, rather than topping out as expected next year. However it says if lower growth causes the budget figures to go off track we should not have to cut or tax more for the moment.
**3. Partly because it is worried growth may slow, the IMF reckons that a big drive is needed to spend state money where it is needed.**
As we reported in yesterday's paper, it says Ireland cannot afford continued universal entitlements in areas such as child benefit, medical cards and third level fees.
**4. It says it is vital we introduce a property tax and a significant one.**
IMF staff believe it should be set at 0.5 per cent of house value, or about twice what the government is believed to have planned. At €500 euro per annum for every €100,000 of house value this would be political dynamite. Finance Minister Michael Noonan [has ruled out](http://www.businesspost.ie/#!story/Home/News/IMF+property+tax+proposal+is+too+high+says+Noonan/id/19410615-5218-504e-149c-20a941748058) a property tax at this level but it is clear that the troika are pushing for a sizeable tax.
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