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Canadian NGOs Welcome Government Decision to Renounce Debt Payments

News Release

For Immediate Release: December 19, 2000

OTTAWA, December 19, 2000 --Canadian international development agencies have welcomed the announcement made by Finance Minister Paul Martin to stop collecting debt repayments from 11 of the world’s most highly indebted poor countries (HIPCs). They now call on the Finance Minister to work on persuading other bilateral creditors, the IMF and the World Bank to stop taking money from the world’s poorest.

"The Canadian Council for International Co-operation commends the Minister for the announced moratorium," said its President-CEO Gerry Barr. "This is an extremely positive step towards fulfilling the government’s commitment to cancel all outstanding poor country debt owed to Canada."

The total debt owed to Canada by the 17 highly indebted poor countries was $1.1 billion. In its 2000 budget, the Canadian government announced that it would cancel all debt owed to eligible reforming highly indebted Poor countries (HIPC). Today’s announcement brings Canada closer to this outright cancellation of the debt.

"We do appreciate the gesture coming a few days before the end of this Jubilee year," said Gerry Barr. But total and immediate debt cancellation remains the main objective. This fight continues."

CCIC urges Mr. Martin to continue to play a leadership role in working for an extension of the moratorium to the debts held by other bilateral creditors and particularly those owed to multilateral financial institutions. This measure should be coupled with the de-linking of debt relief from onerous structural adjustment conditions. HIPC bilateral debt payments represent less than 30% of poor country debt servicing. NGOs see it as critical that more of the world’s poorest countries’ debts be canceled to allow them to make the necessary investments in economic and social infrastructure that will help to significantly reduce the number of people living in extreme poverty.


For more information, contact

Andrea Botto
Policy Officer, CCIC,
(613) 241-7007, ext. 333.


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