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Economist says junta flouts World Bank rules

May 22, 2008 (DVB), Burmese economist Zaw Oo says the reason the World Bank will not provide Burma with financial assistance is simply because Burma has violated the rules and regulations of the international financial institution.

World Bank executive director Juan Jose Daboub recently told journalists that it currently had no plans to financially support Burma, which lost USD 10 billion when Cyclone Nargis hit the country, since the country had not paid off the previous debts it owed to the institution.

According to AFP, Burma's military regime has not repaid any of the loans they have had from the World Bank since 1988.

Zaw Oo said the Burmese government had not followed the regulations set out by the World Bank.

"Apart from obligation to repay loans, members of the World Bank have to pledge to follow its rules and regulations," said Zaw Oo.

"Normally, the World Bank lends money to a particular member state only after it has consulted with the government of that state on a Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, a programme to be implemented in that country," he said.

"Burma hasn't repaid its previous loans and still doesn't have a PRSP, and that's why I think the World Bank has decided not give any loans."

Despite the military regime's restrictions on international aid, an international donors' conference will be held in Rangoon this coming Sunday to explore ways to raise funds to cover needs in the post-cyclone period.

Zaw Oo told DVB that it would be difficult to receive sufficient aid from the international community unless the junta knew the rules and regulations of international relief agencies and submitted a comprehensive plan to tackle the current crisis that required cooperation with domestic and international experts.

When asked the impact of the cyclone on Burma's economy Zaw Oo stressed that the economic situation would worsen if systematic measures to implement the current relief operation with the help of the international community were not put in place.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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