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15.06.2005 General News

Debt cancellation is good but not the panacea to woes - ISODEC


Accra, June 15, GNA - The Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) on Wednesday said it welcomed the cancellation of Ghana's debts by the G-8 because it represented yet another victory in the push for total and unconditional debt cancellation.

It is also welcomed the deal "especially given that multilateral debt constituted the largest portion of third world debt", a statement in Accra signed by Betty Wood for Media and Campaigns Coordinator of ISODEC said.

The G-8 last Saturday announced the cancellation of Ghana's 4.1 billion dollar debt representing about 89 per cent of her external debt stock. Seventeen other 17 with 14 of them in Africa also benefited from the debt cancellation.

"We recognise that the deal reached during a G-8 Finance Ministers meeting in London on Saturday June 11, constitute an important milestone in the struggle to rid our world of poverty in the run up to the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target date", the statement said. It, however, cautioned against complacency as the fight against poverty and the flawed world economic order would persist for some time.

The statement observed that the cancellation of the debt would free resources urgently needed to deal with the country's pressing developmental needs.

However, it said, "we are concerned that without the policy space to determine how we apply these resources, to engineer an increase in domestic production, and access to essential services among other things, the benefit to be accrued would not reach the poor," neither could the sustenance of their livelihood be guaranteed.

The statement said ISODEC believed that if the offer would make any difference in the lives of Ghanaians living in poverty it would depend on the conditions attached to the package and its usage.

The statement said that ISODEC would continue to demand among other things an end to the situation where aid was used as a tool to pry open the economies of poor countries for the dumping of heavily subsidised inferior quality imports to destroy the domestic production base.

"We shall also persist in our demand for an end to the use of non-tariff barriers to deny poor countries access to the markets of rich countries".