Russian Finance Minister says WB should stay away from politics

Other News Materials 18 September 2006 16:52 (UTC +04:00)

(RIA Novosti) - Russia's finance minister Monday added his voice to calls by other high-ranking officials for the World Bank to not interfere in politics while trying to help national governments fight corruption, reports Trend.

Alexei Kudrin said: "We believe the Bank should take note of clients' concerns that its unwitting interference in the political process, even if under the slogan of supporting the fight against corruption, may contribute to the alienation between the Bank and governments, leading to [their] rejection of any helpful advice and, eventually, to the impediment of progress in anti-corruption efforts and in improving public administration."

The Russian minister was speaking at a session of the Committee for Development of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Singapore.

In his keynote report to the gathering, Kudrin acknowledged that it is impossible to improve public administration without raising the quality of economic and regulatory policies. Yet, as WB surveys have shown, he said, high public administration standards do not always make policies more efficient.

"Development failures may be a consequence either of corruption and low-quality administration, or of a poor policy, which, in turn, creates financial and

economic conditions fostering abuse and corruption."

Kudrin said international financial institutions are meant to assist nations in working out and implementing adequate macroeconomic, structural and social policies aimed at boosting development and reducing poverty.

That is why the World Bank's efforts to improve public administration and curb corruption should be coordinated with national governments, as it is they who are ultimately responsible for the quality of governance in their respective countries, he said.

The minister also urged the World Bank to scrap unnecessary restrictions on large projects in hydroelectric power engineering, and to resume its support of ones in the nuclear power sector.

He said such projects could help reduce energy poverty and promote the use of environmentally friendly sources of energy.