Britain, Nigeria, Others Take


By Jide Olatuyi

Guardian, Nigeria
March 6, 2002
Britain, Nigeria and Ghana will be leading a delegation of other African and Asian countries to the United Nations sponsored Financing for Development conference scheduled to hold in Monterrey, Mexico between March 18 and 22 this year on debt relief for developing economies and countries on transit economies.

In a communiqué issued at the end of an international members of parliament meeting hosted by Jubilee Netherlands in Holland, the participants called for the debt problem to remain high on the international agenda for reasons of international justice, human rights, stability and development.

In regretting the financing for development draft consensus' lack of a more ambitious agenda to resolving the debt crisis, they urge UN member states to take the following into consideration during the coming discussions in Monterrey so as to address the problems of developing countries, middle-income countries and countries with economies in transition.

Recognition of debt reduction as a vital and necessary condition to achieve social and sustainable development

It frees resources to be used for essential development activities, including but not limited to the strengthening of the economy. We urge UN member states to endorse the need to develop an international framework to identify, track and facilitate the recovery of illegally acquired wealth to the country of origin.

We urge governments to take concrete steps to further develop the UN comprehensive convention on corruption as mentioned in the Draft Consensus for the Financing for Development Conference, as well as regional conventions on corruption.

The Holland meeting was attended by Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, the Nigeria Senate President who is back in Abuja, Senators Yandoma, Mammon Ali, also from Nigeria, Senator Augustine Ruzindana from Uganda, Gheysika Agambila Deputy Finance Minister, Ghana, Ms. Julia Drown, Senator from the United Kingdom, Brt. Koender member of the Netherlands parliament, David Ugolor, Director of the African Network for Environmental and Social Justice in Nigeria, Mr. Anthony Ampaw from Jubilee in Ghana, Mr. Wahyu Basyir, Institute for Development and Economic Analysis in Indonesia, Mr. Jusgen Kaiser, Erlassjabr 2000 Germany, Ms. Charlotte Mresigye, Uganda and Ms. Joyce Kortlandt from Jubilee Netherlands, the Netherlands.

The statement also called on the UN member states to endorse in Monterrey the following principles for determining within a fair and transparent framework how much debt relief is required.

  • Safeguarding of government expenditures in essential fields (with the millennium goals as a bottom line), while ensuring that freed resources contribute to social and economic development.

  • Realistic economic projections, allowing for flexibility to take into account the impact of external shocks.

  • Involvement of all sovereign debts, private, bilateral and multilateral.

  • Bilateral and multilateral debt relief should be financed with additional resources, using International Financial Institutions (IFI) reserves and bilateral contributions additional to current ODA spending.

    Other resolutions of the conference include:

  • Immediate cancellation of illegitimate and odious bilateral debts;

  • All creditor countries as well as the major shareholders of the IFI should accept co-responsibility for 'failed' IFI lending that is, loans that have not contributed to social and sustainable development;

  • The need for increased scrutiny by parliaments and civil society in both creditor and debtor countries as a way of enhancing political and financial accountability and helping to ensure that civil society concerns are reflected in lending and borrowing.

    All these they said will help free up resources to be used for essential development activities including but not limited to the strengthening of the economy.

    Earlier last month, the British Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair had visited Nigeria and other two Africa countries foreclosing the possibility of debt cancellation by the advanced countries.

    More Information on Social and Economic Policy
    More Information on Financing for Development
    More Information on Debt Relief

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