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General News Tue, 9 Jan 2001

World Bank ready to help

By Francis Eshun-Baidoo

THE Country Director of the World Bank, Mr Peter Harold, has expressed the preparedness of the donor community to assist the government of President J. A. Kufuor to tackle the nagging economic difficulties facing the country. He said the World Bank would extend the same level of co-operation it had given to the previous governments to the NPP Government as it embarks on prudent policies to bring the economy back on track.

Mr Harold who was speaking in an interview at the Independence Square in Accra before the inaugural address of President Kufuor , said ?we must commend Ghana for demonstrating amply its full acceptance of democratic governance.? He said even though it is the policy of the World Bank to work with the government of the day, the bank is only prepared to support sound policies and programmes. Mr Harold said there will be no change in the World Bank?s policy towards Ghana, adding, ?we expect that there will be refashioning of some policies by the new government but the focus of our attention, which is aimed at poverty alleviation remains the same?.

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On whether it is true that the donor community withheld funds from the NDC Government last year for fear of being used for election purposes, Mr Harrold dismissed the rumour as untrue, saying that, ?we gave whatever that was expected within specific time frames.? On whether the World Bank will continue to advocate the divestiture of state-owned enterprises such as the utilities as a means of cutting down government?s debt, especially when the new government has said, it will rethink the divestiture process, Mr Harold said it is the decision of every government to work out how best to reduce its debt burden. He said the World Bank will only offer advice on what it thinks is a viable option in all considerations. Mr Harold announced that the donor community would soon hold consultative meeting with the new government on the way forward.

Source: Daily Graphic
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