World Bank welcomes Turkish reform measures

Published March 18th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

The World Bank on Friday, March 16, hailed urgent economic reform measures adopted by Turkey and said it was ready to help Turkish authorities with their implementation. 

 

"The World Bank welcomes the announcement of Turkey's key priority measures to support the economic program," said Bank spokesman Christopher Walsh, adding that they "highlighted the urgent areas for immediate attention to help stabilize the economy." 

 

Faced with an acute cash crunch last month, and in an atmosphere of political crisis, the government on February 22 abandoned a pegged exchange rate and floated the lira, the national currency.  

 

The move breached a three-year anti-inflation plan backed by the International Monetary Fund that had been in place since December 1999. 

 

Under new measures adopted this week, the government is to restructure and privatize the country's three public banks, which have lost about $20 billion, and is to remedy structural weaknesses in private banks. 

 

It will also accelerate privatization to increase revenues for the cash-strapped state and impose strict limitations on spending.  

 

The central bank will intervene to keep the lira, which has fallen by about 30 percent against the dollar, under control. 

 

Walsh said the attention paid by authorities to shoring up the banking sector was "an encouraging indication," as was the importance attached by the government to helping those members of the population most seriously affected by the turmoil. 

 

"The World Bank stands ready to assist Turkey in the implementation of its new economic program," he added. — (AFP, Washington) 

 

© Agence France Presse 2001

© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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