To the surprise and satisfaction of World Bank officials, the $600 billion appropriations bill signed yesterday by President Reagan contains $915 million for the bank's subsidized aid programs, almost the full amount the administration requested.
In addition, the legislation contains a $44.4 million appropriation for the U.S. share for a new World Bank program that will insure American investments in less developed countries, a proposal that had been vigorously opposed by labor unions fearing increased competition from abroad.
Congress also eliminated an amendment that had been under consideration that would have barred World Bank loans to finance production of any commodities in world surplus.
But other multilateral development agencies, notably the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), did not fare so well.
The World Bank's subsidized aid funds will go to its subsidiary agency, the International Development Association (IDA), for the first year of a three-year program.
Originally, the administration had requested $958 million for IDA for fiscal 1988, substantially higher than the average of $750 million approved in each of the three prior years. Because of the overall budget squeeze, the House had appropriated only $830.1 million and the Senate $845 million.
But the conference compromise exceeded both figures.
Commenting on the unexpectedly generous appropriations for IDA, a House staff member said: "It seemed important to get a respectable number for IDA -- we wanted to get that rolling." But he warned against the assumption that the 1988 appropriations necessarily assured that the same amount of money will be available for fiscal 1989.
The approval of a $44.4 million U.S. subscription to the Multilateral Insurance Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which will seek to underpin American investments in Third World countries, surprised Bank officials, who feared that AFL-CIO objections would stall approval.
Union officials argued that with the MIGA protection against expropriation and other hazards, American manufacturers will move additional production abroad at the expense of jobs here. Compromise language requires the administration to guard against such developments.
The aid package also:
Ignores an administration request of $88.4 million for a special facility for sub-Saharan Africa. In effect, Congress ended contributions to that pool of money, and added to its appropriations for IDA, which will now allocate between 45 per cent and 50 per cent of its distributions -- against 30 per cent before -- for sub-Saharan Africa.
Appropriates $40.2 million to complete prior U.S. commitments for capital to the World Bank.
Limits new capital contributions to the IDB to $31.6 million, compared with the administration request for $63.2 million; and to $25.7 million for the IDB's subsidized funds operation against a $75.5 million request.
Appropriates $15.1 million for the capital of the Asian Development Bank, the same as the administration request, and $28 million for the Asian Development Bank's subsidized fund, down from the administration request for $219 million.
Appropriates $8.9 million for capital and $75 million in subsidized funds, both as requested, for the African Development Bank.