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Georgieva says examining all IMF research processes to ensure integrity

The International Monetary Fund is looking at all of its research processes in order to ensure the Fund’s data integrity in the wake of a data-rigging scandal at the World Bank, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Friday.

Among the issues being examined is whether the IMF’s growth projections for countries with IMF loan programs are too optimistic, Georgieva told the Reuters Next conference.

“Is there something more that can be done, and we are looking at all the processes — are they sufficiently up to date with what others are doing?” Georgieva said, adding that in a difficult year ahead, “the Fund has to be the best it can be for the membership.”

The global lender on Thursday named its chief economist Gita Gopinath to become its second-ranking official, replacing First Deputy Managing Director Geoffrey Okamoto who will leave the global lender in early 2022.

It said it would restore some responsibilities to the No. 2 role, including oversight of surveillance and research and flagship publications, that were shifted away under Okamoto, a move welcomed by the IMF’s top shareholder, the United States.

The changes came on the heels of an independent report commissioned by the World Bank, which claimed Georgieva, then the CEO of the World Bank, and other senior officials had pressured World Bank staff to alter data to favor China.

The IMF executive board cleared Georgieva of any wrongdoing, but U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has asked the IMF to take proactive steps to ensure the integrity of its data and protection of any whistleblowers.

IMF officials said those steps would be finalized in coming weeks, but gave no details.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Andrea Shalal and David Lawder Editing by Sonya Hepinstall & Shri Navaratnam)

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