IMF, World Bank to help in Iraq

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Posted by Sadie from ? ( on Thursday, May 01, 2003 at 6:09PM :

US Treasury's Snow--IMF, World Bank to help in Iraq

Wed April 30, 2003 09:59 AM ET

WASHINGTON, April 30 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said on Wednesday the World Bank and International Monetary Fund will play an "important role in supporting" reconstruction of war-battered Iraq.
"The World Bank is already forming a team of experts to conduct a needs assessment in Iraq, which will help focus attention on assistance priorities and lay the groundwork for economic recovery and growth," Snow said in testimony prepared for delivery to the House of Representatives foreign operations appropriations subcommittee.

"The IMF has provided general advice on the currency and monetary policy, and has also signaled that it is prepared to undertake a needs assessment at the appropriate time," he added.

The World Bank board on Tuesday voted to let its management decide when to send a mission into Iraq to assess reconstruction needs, the bank said, but offered no details on the timing of that mission.

The Washington-based lender said it would work closely with bilateral and multilateral groups "particularly United Nations agencies."

A World Bank source said later the lender needs a safer situation in Iraq and an invitation from a government there or from the international community to send a fact-finding team to the country.

The IMF and World Bank have indicated they are ready to help with the reconstruction, but only with a new United Nations resolution and backing of their global shareholders.

But the World Bank board's decision on Tuesday means that when its chief James Wolfensohn decides the time for a mission is right, he will not need to put it to a vote of the 184 shareholder executive board.

Snow told the House panel that a Treasury task force is working to address the key financial and economic portions of Iraq's reconstruction.

"Working in concert with USAID, State (Department) and the emerging leadership of a free Iraq, Treasury will assist in the formulation and execution of financial and economic policies in post-war Iraq," the Treasury chief said.

"We start from the premise that our role is to help the Iraqi people rather than to impose changes upon them. It will be a priority to restore essential operations of the Financial Ministry, the Central Bank, commercial banks and the stock market," he added.

-- Sadie
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