IMF chief expects to hit $135b target for shifting reserves to needy nations

WASHINGTON • International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Kristalina Georgieva said yesterday she expects advanced economies to reach their target of shifting US$100 billion (S$135 billion) of US$650 billion in newly created emergency reserves to countries in need.

Dr Georgieva said she was encouraged by the IMF executive board's consideration of a new Resilience and Sustainability Trust that would allow richer countries to donate or loan their share of the new Special Drawing Rights (SDR) to more countries than just the low-income countries now eligible for such help.

The IMF chief said the fund was also putting in place measures to increase transparency about the use of any SDRs.

She was speaking days after the fund's executive board cleared her of claims that she pressured World Bank staff to alter data to favour China when she was employed at the World Bank.

In an interview on Tuesday, the Bulgarian economist said: "We have difficult problems to wrestle with and we need the strong standing of the institution to serve the membership."

She added that she is fully focused on "looking forward" to global challenges.

Dr Georgieva, the first person from a developing country to head the IMF, survived the threat to her leadership, but former US Treasury officials and other experts have warned that the scandal has dented the research reputation of both the IMF and the World Bank.

At issue was a damning assessment prepared by the law firm WilmerHale for the World Bank's board about data irregularities discovered in a 2017 World Bank report. Dr Georgieva has strongly denied the claims made in the report, which centred on her actions at the World Bank in 2017, about two years before she took over the top job at the IMF.

She and her attorney have blasted the law firm for making critical errors in its report and for misleading her by saying she was not a subject of the investigation.

Asked whether the saga had harmed the IMF, Dr Georgieva emphasised that the data issues related to the World Bank "Doing Business" reports and not to the IMF. She said she had "absolutely full confidence" in the integrity of the IMF's data and research.

Dr Georgieva said she welcomed the board's "thorough and impartial" review - including two sets of meetings with her and the law firm's attorneys - because it gave her a chance to fully rebut the claims.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said yesterday he did not expect an investigation of the IMF chief's role in alleged data-rigging at the World Bank to have a lasting impact on either institution.

Mr Le Maire told reporters Dr Georgieva - who was cleared of wrongdoing by the IMF executive board on Monday - was doing "a very good job" at the helm of the global crisis lender and had the full support of the French government.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2021, with the headline 'IMF chief expects to hit $135b target for shifting reserves to needy nations'. Subscribe