September 30, 2017 / 9:21 AM / in 10 months

World Bank in talks with Uzbekistan over reform support

TASHKENT (Reuters) - The World Bank is discussing with Uzbekistan the details of support for reforms implemented by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s government, the global lender said on Saturday.

A source close to the government told Reuters on Friday the Central Asian nation planned to seek a World Bank budget-support loan of up to $1 billion.

The planned borrowing would aim to soften the impact of foreign exchange reform on the economy and the budget, the source said.

The former Soviet republic this month lifted most of the restrictions on foreign exchange - which had existed for decades - by allowing companies and citizens to freely trade foreign currency and sharply devaluing the official exchange rate.

“We are working very closely with the Government of Uzbekistan to support their ambitious reforms aimed at improving the lives of the Uzbek people. The details of our support are being discussed between the government and the World Bank,” a World Bank spokesman said on Saturday.

The spokesman provided no further details.

Mirziyoyev met World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Sept.20 when the Uzbek leader attended the United Nations General Assembly session in New York.

Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Alexander Smith

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