Bolivian MPs recommend setting up an external debt audit commission

On December 30th, the Lower House of the Bolivian Parliament approved a resolution to recommend the Pluri-National Legislative Assembly to set up a special commission to audit Bolivia’s external debt. The decision is part of a process engaging Members of Parliament (MPs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) including the Jubilee Foundation, in association with national and international networks.

According to a communiqué from the Bolivian Parliament, the commission must “investigate the process through which external public debt was entered into and renegotiated”. The communiqué also specifies that the audit should determine the “legitimacy, lawfulness, transparency, quality, effectiveness and efficiency” of debt processes and debt cancellation processes registered in Bolivia in recent decades.

MPs in support of the recommendation argue that during periods of dictatorship in Bolivia “external debt was entered into without people’s consent” and that indebtedness levels “continue to be alarming” in spite of debt cancellations. Furthermore, they stated that economic and social development projects and programmes funded with external resources have failed “to reduce the high levels of poverty and inequality” in the country.

“In view of the current global financial and economic crisis we consider it appropriate to gather past experiences to make policy recommendations for a new responsible external indebtedness”, the resolution states.

According to a report by the Central Bank of Bolivia, the country’s medium and long-term external public debt amounted to 2.8 billion dollars by September 2009 – exceeding the amount registered in December 2008 by 316 million.

The country’s debt with the Andean Development Corporation (CAF), which amounts to 987 million dollars, accounts for 35 per cent of the debt owed to multilateral institutions.

Meanwhile, the country’s main bilateral debt is owed to Venezuela and amounts to 247.7 million dollars.

Bolivian social organisations, including the Jubilee Foundation, have on several occasions suggested carrying out an external debt audit to discover the origin, conditions and impact of indebtedness.

Republished from Eurodad

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