The purpose of the Bill is to enable Ireland to join the International Finance Corporation which is an affiliate of the World Bank. The corporation's functions supplement those of the World Bank and membership of the corporation is open only to members of the bank. Fifty-five of the 66 countries, apart from Ireland, which were members of the bank in May, 1953, have also joined the corporation.
The objects of the corporation are indicated in the explanatory memorandum which has been circulated with the Bill. The memorandum also gives examples of projects which have been financed by the corporation. The articles of agreement of the corporation comprise the Schedule to the Bill. These form the corporation's charter and they contain its regulations relating to its membership and capital, its operations and its organisation and management.
Having regard to the information contained in the explanatory memorandum and in the corporation's articles of agreement, I think that I may confine my remarks to the benefits to this country which are likely to follow from our becoming members of the corporation. The corporation's primary object is not simply to help along certain selected private projects by making loans available to them. Its purpose is wider. It is to demonstrate that private investment in the less developed areas when prudently made and properly managed can be both profitable and useful and by that demonstration to encourage investment in these countries by private investors. As I mentioned in the Dáil last week, our need is not for foreign capital as such but for the technical knowledge and managerial skill that may be expected to come with foreign capital. The possibility of obtaining assistance from an international financial organisation such as the corporation may be expected to overcome in many cases the initial reluctance of firms in the United States and elsewhere to invest in a country like Ireland of which they may have had no previous first-hand experience. We may also expect to benefit from the corporation's functions as an international clearing house for investment projects. In this way opportunities in Ireland which might otherwise escape their attention can be brought to the notice of foreign firms seeking investment opportunities. The possibility of obtaining financial assistance from this source should encourage the initiation of productive projects by Irish interests. I am, therefore, confident that by becoming members of the corporation we will be placing ourselves in a position to secure valuable assistance in the task of encouraging productive investment in this country.
The financial commitments involved in membership are indicated in the explanatory memorandum. It is understood that on becoming a member Ireland will be obliged to subscribe for approximately 350 shares of the corporation stock at a cost of 350,000 dolelars. The amount of each country's subscription to the corporation is related to its subscription to the World Bank.
In addition to subscribing to the capital stock of the corporation membership involves the according of certain privileges and immunities to the corporation. These are similar to those granted to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank by the Bretton Woods Agreements Act, 1957.
In accordance with the articles of agreement of the corporation it will be necessary for the Government to sign the articles and to deposit with the World Bank an instrument setting forth that it has accepted the agreement in accordance with its law and has taken all steps necessary to enable it to carry out its obligations. The present Bill, which follows generally the lines of the Bretton Woods Agreements Act, 1957, in so far as that Act relates to the World Bank, is designed to give approval for the acceptance of the agreement by the Government and to provide the powers necessary to enable it to implement the agreement. The explanatory memorandum indicates the purpose of the various sections of the Bill.