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Jubilee Statements

Monitoring the impacts of government and corporate behaviour in communities overseas.

Calls for Pakistan debt moratorium welcome

Release Date: 01-Sep-2010

We warmly welcome the call by international aid agencies to freeze Pakistan’s debt repayments for at least two years. World Vision Australia head Tim Costello said, “The Government of Pakistan should be able to focus its efforts on providing what people desperately need, rather than servicing international debt”. At $3 billion per year, Pakistan’s annual debt repayments dwarf current levels of international aid; the country owes a staggering $49 billion in debt to its creditors in total. 
 
Jubilee Australia joins with debt campaigning counterparts around the world in also warning the international community about new loans. In response to the devastating Pakistan floods which have affected a staggering 17 million people, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank are asking the Pakistani Government to borrow $900 million and $2 billion respectively, to access emergency funds. At the very least, anti-poverty institutions like World Bank and ADB should not be making Pakistan's crisis worse by asking that these emergency funds be repaid.
 
Further to this, Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt & Development, of which Jubilee Australia is an associate member, has said the following in a statement issued: "We are reminded of lessons and experiences in the aftermath of the tsunami of 2004 December when the International Financial Institutions used the relief and rehabilitation process in several Asian countries to hasten the privatization of essential services such as water, related infrastructure and public lands. This must not be allowed to happen again in the wake of the disaster in Pakistan."

"The tragedy should also bring into the light the illegitimacy of many of the past loans that today keep countries like Pakistan impoverished. A preliminary audit has found that the vast majority of Pakistan's loans were run up under military governments, many offering little benefit to ordinary people", adds Adele Webb, Jubilee Australia National Coordinator.