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< January 2010
14.01.2010 17:07 Age: 4 yrs
Category: Press Releases

Debt for Disaster? Jubilee USA Dismayed by IMF Proposal for $100 Million Loan to Haiti

Network Urges Obama Administration to Support Massive Grants, Expanded Debt Relief

Jubilee USA Network

January 15, 2010

Contact: Hayley Hathaway, Communications Coordinator, 202-783-3566 x100

The Network also reacted with dismay to news today that the IMF is planning to offer a $100 million loan to Haiti through its Extended Credit Facility (formerly the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility).

Jubilee USA called on the Obama administration to take three specific steps as part of its comprehensive response to the Haiti earthquake: (1) Provide massive assistance for relief and reconstruction in the form of grants, not loans; (2) Cancel the rest of Haiti's debt; and (3) Provide Temporary Protective Status to Haitians living in the US.

Jubilee USA Policy Recommendations on Haiti to the Obama administration:

1. Provide massive assistance for relief and reconstruction in the form of grants, not loans.

2. Cancel the rest of Haiti's debt. While two-thirds of Haiti's debt ($1.2 billion) was cancelled in June 2009 with the support of the international community, the country still has $641 million in debt on its books. This is because debt relief agreements from the IMF and other creditors only covered debts acquired up until 2004. New loans Haiti has received since then have been adding to its debt. Half of this total of $641 million is owed to the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) and the IMF with the other half owed to other countries including Venezuela and Taiwan. In 2010, Haiti is projected to pay around $10 million to the IMF and IDB - and this is money Haiti simply can't pay now that this tragic earthquake has hit.

The US has strong voting power on the Boards of both the IMF and the IDB and should use its influence to secure immediate cancellation of these debts. If cancellation cannot be agreed immediately, President Obama should call for an immediate moratorium on all debt payments from Haiti with no accrued interest until cancellation can be agreed, as was agreed for countries hit by the Asian tsunami in 2004. All of Haiti's limited resources should be directed at recovery, not repayment.  For more information on Haiti's debt, see Jubilee USA's August 2009 policy update on Haiti's debt situation here.

3. Provide Temporary Protective Status for Haitians Living in the US. Leading Haiti advocates are calling on the U.S. to end the deportation of Haitian immigrants, release those currently held in detention centers pending deportation, and grant Temporary Protected Status for the 30,000 Haitians currently under threat of deportation.   Temporary protected status (TPS) is granted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to eligible nationals of countries that cannot safely return to their homelands because of armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. Haiti clearly fits this description. For more information see TransAfrica Forum.

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