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Commonwealth advocates debt relief for ‘small, vulnerable members’

By Omoh Gabriel & Emma Ujah

Tokyo(Japan) — The Commonwealth is set to push for debt relief for its small, vulnerable, highly-indebted member nations before the G20 group.

The G20 includes 19 sovereign members and the European Union, namely: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, European Union, Argentina, France, Japan, India, Indonesia, Italy, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, United States, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Russia.

Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Mr. Kamalesh Sharma, who was accompanied by the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Denzil Douglas, and Mr. Cyrus Rustomjee, who is the Director of Economic Affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat, told journalists, yesterday, that the debt relief push was one of the decisions taken at the meeting of the Commonwealth Ministers of Finance at the on-going World Bank/International Monetary Fund, IMF, Annual Meeting, in Tokyo, Japan.

He said that debt relief had become necessary as the affected member nations’ sovereign debts had reached unsustainable levels.

He said: “Yesterday, the Commonwealth Secretariat followed through on a commitment that was made to the Commonwealth leaders when we met in Perth last year and that was to look at the very serious debt situation that was confronting the Commonwealth’s small, vulnerable economies.

“Looking at the spectrum of membership of the Commonwealth, there is a significant number of members that are small and vulnerable in their economies.

“So we wanted to pay some attention as to how we could build consensus among ourselves as ministers of finance of the Commonwealth in presenting a particular platform to other members of the Commonwealth, who are of the G-20, and also to other international financial institutions and international community generally, as to what we see as ministers will be necessary to assist us at this very critical time in our development.”


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