26 May 2012

IMF boss urges Greeks to pay taxes

3:07 pm on 26 May 2012

International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde has said the people of Greece can help get themselves out of their economic problems by paying their taxes.

In an interview with Britain's Guardian newspaper Ms Lagarde said she was concerned by the number of Greeks who constantly tried to escape taxation.

She said that as head of the IMF, she worried more about the plight of children in sub-Saharan Africa than the people of Athens.

Greece has pledged to implement tough austerity measures in return for a multi-billion euro bailout but the deal is under threat after inconclusive elections in May.

Ms Lagarde said that as far as Athens is concerned she thinks of "all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time" and said they should help themselves collectively.

"I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day, sharing one chair for three of them, and who are very keen to get an education ... I think they need even more help than the people in Athens."

Ms Lagarde reiterated that the IMF had no intention of softening the terms of Greece's austerity package.

As Greece awaits a new poll in June, there are now fears that Athens may be forced to leave the euro zone, the BBC reports.