Treasury Secretary Yellen Encourages Tax and Aid Deals to Confront Pandemic

Washington DC – Improving tax collection raises needed resources for countries, noted Treasury Secretary Yellen at a virtual G7 finance ministers meeting. Yellen praised a July G20 agreement to curb corporate tax avoidance. The agreement is supported by 134 countries.

“We are seeing significant progress on curbing global corporate tax avoidance,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network. “As new tax agreements move forward, developing countries must be included. Too many countries lack the resources to combat the pandemic because they aren't collecting adequate tax revenue."

Yellen encouraged her G7 counterparts to lend their shares of a recent emergency currency creation of $650 billion for global pandemic response. In August, the International Monetary Fund authorized the emergency response funds known as Special Drawing Rights. G7 countries received more than $280 billion and developing countries received around $230 billion of the emergency currency. Wealthy countries can donate or lend their Special Drawing Rights to developing countries.

“Rich countries don't need their share of emergency pandemic response funds," noted LeCompte who serves on United Nations finance expert groups. “Given the level of suffering in developing countries, wealthy countries should donate their funds instead of lending them to poor countries."

Read Treasury's readout of the G7 meeting here.

Read about the historic $650 billion SDR allocation here.

See Jubilee USA's calculation of the approximate amount each country receives in emergency SDRs currency here.

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Eric LeCompte covered in the Catholic Sun on pandemic recovery efforts

Eric LeCompte was covered in a Catholic Sun article about the recent "Poverty and COVID-19: Challenges and Solutions" webinar. Read an excerpt below and click here for the full article.

Richest nations urged to tackle financial turmoil worsened by pandemic

By Catholic News Service

Leaders from the world’s 20 largest economies are facing “make-or-break” decisions that can boost health care, reduce poverty and address the impact of climate change in developing nations when they meet in October in Italy, said the executive director of an alliance of faith-based development and debt relief advocacy organizations.

The questions facing the Group of 20 nations, or G-20, range from charting a path to ease the debt burden of poor countries to ensuring more equitable distribution of vaccines in response to the coronavirus pandemic, said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Washington-based Jubilee USA.

The key to recovery from the pandemic will be ensuring that decision-makers are accountable to follow through on what they say they are going to do, LeCompte explained during an Aug. 24 webinar, “Poverty and COVID-19: Challenges and Solutions,” sponsored by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.

LeCompte credited a United States plan to donate 500 million vaccines worldwide as a significant step toward the global economic recovery from the pandemic.

Read more here.

 

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Eric LeCompte featured in Crux on Afghani emergency COVID funds

Eric LeCompte was featured in Crux on the IMF withholding emergency COVID funds from Afghanistan. Read an excerpt below and click here to read the full article.

IMF emergency COVID funds withheld from Afghanistan

By John Lavenburg

NEW YORK ­­– The International Monetary Fund on Aug. 23 withheld $455 million in emergency COVID-19 relief funding from Afghanistan, after the Taliban’s takeover of the country forced the organization to withhold its recognition of the Afghan government.

The withheld funds are a part of $650 billion in emergency reserve funds, known as the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights, that the organization made available to countries worldwide on Aug. 23.

Eric LeCompte, the executive director of Jubilee USA Network who has for months advocated for the creation of these funds alongside the U.S. bishops’ conference and other religious groups, told Crux that’s it’s unfortunate Afghanistan won’t receive the funds, but called it a “good move” for the IMF given the country’s unstable situation.

“There are real questions when you don’t know how the government is going to act, you don’t know who the authority is, or who’s in charge, where the IMF has to pull back its recognition of the government in order to ensure that money is being spent correctly,” LeCompte said. “So, unfortunately, it will have, I think, a negative impact on the people just as all of the questions around a government transition in Afghanistan right now.”

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Eric LeCompte quoted in IOL article about IMF emergency funding

Eric LeCompte was quoted in Independent Online about the recent round of IMF Emergency Funding to South Africa for COVID-19. Read an excerpt below and click here for the full article. 

IMF provides R65bn emergency funding for SA to tackle Covid-19

By Siphelele Dludla

Last year, the IMF approved South Africa's request for emergency financial assistance of nearly R70bn under the Rapid Financing Instrument to meet the urgent balance of payment needs stemming from the outbreak of the pandemic.

However, there has been concern over the distribution of the SDRs as African nations will receive only $33bn when they require about $450bn to rebuild their economies, over the next five years.

More than $230bn of SDRs goes to developing low-income and middle-income countries, while the G7 countries will receive more than $280bn.

Director of American lobby group Jubilee USA Network, Eric LeCompte, on Friday, said it was unfair that about 40 percent of all of the emergency currency will be received by seven of the world's wealthiest countries.

“The G7 and other wealthy countries don't need these reserve funds and should donate them to developing countries for pandemic response,” LeCompte said.

Read more here.

 

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Jubilee USA statement on creation of historic $650 billion Special Drawing Rights emergency funds to fight pandemic

The IMF creates $650 billion of Special Drawing Rights, the largest IMF emergency currency creation in history to fight the pandemic.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert, releases the following statement on the Special Drawing Rights allocation:

"Developing countries can use these emergency funds to respond to the coronavirus crisis in their own countries.

"Countries can use the Special Drawing Rights to bolster social programs and provide healthcare.

"More than $230 billion of these funds goes to developing low-income and middle-income countries. The G7 countries will receive more than $280 billion. 

“The G7 and other wealthy countries don't need these reserve funds and should donate them to developing countries for pandemic response."

See Jubilee USA's calculation of the approximate amount each country will receive in emergency SDRs currency here.

Read Jubilee USA's press release on the pandemic here.

Read Jubilee USA's IMF COVID response letter calling for Special Drawing Rights aid with nearly 270 signatories here.

Read the SDR letter signed by 240 global groups organized by Jubilee USA and Latindadd here.

Read Jubilee USA and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops joint letter to the White House on SDRs here.

Read about the March High-Level Treasury Secretary Yellen/Jubilee USA Network Religious Leader Roundtable that included SDRs here.

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IMF creates historic $650 billion in emergency funds to fight pandemic

Jubilee USA Estimates Wealthy G7 Countries Receive $280 billion and Developing Countries Receive $230 billion from an IMF Currency Creation

Washington DC – On Monday, the IMF creates $650 billion of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), the largest IMF emergency currency creation in history in order to fight the pandemic. 

"Most countries are dealing with severe health and economic crises spurred by the coronavirus," noted Eric LeCompte who directs the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. Since March of 2020, Jubilee USA advocated for SDRs and organized 268 organizations to support the IMF action. "From buying food to providing healthcare, developing countries can use these emergency funds to respond to the coronavirus crisis in their own countries."

More than $230 billion of SDRs goes to developing low-income and middle-income countries. The G7 countries will receive more than $280 billion.

“About 40% of all of the emergency currency will be received by seven of the world's wealthiest counties,” explained LeCompte. "The G7 and other wealthy countries don't need these reserve funds and should donate them to developing countries for pandemic response."

Countries can use SDRs to increase government savings, fund programs or donate them to other countries. Based on current publicly available IMF data, Jubilee USA calculated that the United States receives $113 billion and all of Africa receives $33 billion in SDRs.

See Jubilee USA's calculation of the approximate amount each country will receive in emergency SDRs currency here.

Read Jubilee USA's IMF COVID response letter calling for Special Drawing Rights aid with nearly 270 signatories here.

Read the SDR letter signed by 240 global groups organized by Jubilee USA and Latindadd here.

Read Jubilee USA and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops joint letter to the White House on SDRs here.

Read About the March High-Level Treasury Secretary Yellen/Jubilee USA Network Religious Leader roundtable that Included SDRs here.

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Haiti earthquake recovery hampered by poverty, high debts and corruption

Washington DC – As a cyclone hits Haiti, rescue workers searched for survivors from Saturday's 7.2 magnitude earthquake. At least 1300 are confirmed dead and thousands of homes destroyed in one of the world's poorest countries. 

“The earthquake devastation in Haiti is quite severe,” said Eric LeCompte a United Nations finance expert and the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network. “Earthquake recovery is more difficult because nearly 60% of people live in poverty, high debts mean Haiti lacks resources to respond, the island still hasn't recovered from the last major earthquake 10 years ago and the COVID pandemic."

Haiti holds $2.2 billion in debt owed mostly to other countries and international financial institutions. Haiti’s debt to the IMF stands at $185 million.

As part of the IMF's COVID response, $17 million of Haiti's IMF debt payments were canceled through a process called the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) since April 2020. Unless the relief process is extended, Haiti resumes IMF debt payments in November. Eligibility for debt relief under the CCRT can include natural disasters.

"The international community must ensure that Haiti receives sufficient funds and aid," stated LeCompte. "Debt relief and supporting greater transparency in Haiti's government will be important for recovery."

A government audit in 2019 revealed lost monies, including $2 billion lost in an oil program between Haiti and Venezuela's PetroCaribe. In July, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated.

Haiti's 2010 earthquake killed 250,000 people and inflicted more than $8 billion in damages. Jubilee USA's 2010 efforts resulted in more than $1 billion in debt relief for Haiti and the creation of the CCRT. The predecessor of the CCRT was specifically established to first support Haiti's 2010 earthquake relief. In 2015, Ebola-hit African countries received debt relief through the CCRT. Last year, the IMF activated the debt relief process to respond to the pandemic in Haiti and 28 of the poorest countries.

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Eric LeCompte speaks on WPKN Radio about distributing COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable countries

Eric LeCompte spoke on WPKN's radio news show about the present need for Covid-19 vaccines in developing countries. Read an excerpt below and click here to listen to the show from 1:35:00 - 2:00:00.

Eric LeCompte of Jubilee USA on urgent need to distribute COVID vaccines to developing nations

Selected Statements from Eric LeCompte

"The reason that the G7, G20, and the World Trade Organization must act by November is to ensure that we have enough vaccine doses for the entire world."

"A big part of the problem has been dealing with the commitments that wealthy countries need to make when developing countries do not have the resources to combat the pandemic. It’s a real issue that the financing and aid has not been raised sooner by global decision makers."

"Without the aid and financing for pharmaceutical waivers so that countries in the developing world can have the resources to produce the vaccine on their own, we are not going to be able to stop what could be a perpetual economic crisis for the US as well as the developing world into the future."

 

Listen more here from 1:35:00 - 2:00:00.

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The United Methodist Church reports on Jubilee USA's efforts for global vaccine access

The United Methodist Church reports on Jubilee USA's efforts for global vaccine access. Read an excerpt below and click here for the full article. 

The Need for Worldwide Vaccine Access: Citizens of many countries are unprotected as COVID-19 cases rise.

By Linda Bloom

United Methodist and other faith leaders view access to the COVID-19 vaccine as a human right, along with other basic health care needs.

But citizens in many countries remain unprotected from the coronavirus as multinational efforts to increase vaccine availability have fallen short. The total number of known coronavirus cases worldwide has now surpassed 200 million.

The Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, was among the religious leaders who met virtually Aug. 4 with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to express support for waiving vaccine patents to increase COVID vaccine access for developing countries.

The meeting with Tai was organized by Jubilee USA and Eric LeCompte, its executive director, said Tai understood the urgency of the situation. “Waiving vaccine COVID patents will help produce more vaccines and save lives in the developing world,” he said.

 

Read more here. 

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La Prensa Grafica cites Jubilee USA on the new $400 million reserve funds for El Salvador

La Prensa Grafica quoted Eric LeCompte on the new allocation of $400 million through Special Drawing Rights for El Salvador. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

FMI otorgará $400 millones para El Salvador por pandemia

By Claudia Espinoza

Resources will be delivered through Special Drawing Rights (SDR), which are funds to complement the reserves of the countries.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will grant $ 400 million to El Salvador to face the covid-19 crisis, being one of the most benefited countries in the region, in addition to Ecuador and Argentina, which will receive $1 billion and $4.3 billion respectively.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network, said this outlay will not be enough. "Rich countries that receive emergency reserves they don't need should transfer those resources to developing countries fighting the pandemic," he said.

 

Read More here.

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BBC features Eric LeCompte on the new allocation of $650 billion SDRs

BBC features Eric LeCompte on the creation of $650 billion SDRs destined to underpin the global economic recovery and help the nations that face gigantic levels of debt. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

FMI: cuánto dinero recibirá cada país de América Latina con la mayor inyección de recursos que ha aprobado el organismo en toda su historia

By Cecilia Barría

Latin American countries are trying to stand up and accelerate economic recovery after the harsh recession caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

Those who have the most uphill path are those with few fiscal reserves to allow them to guarantee their stability and with little access to credit in international markets due to their high level of risk.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network, said the measure will benefit developing countries, but it will not be enough.

"Rich countries that receive emergency reserves they don't need should transfer those resources to developing countries fighting the pandemic," he said.

 

Read more here.

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Eric LeCompte speaks with Crux on the Jubilee USA/US Trade Rep Tai meeting on vaccines and COVID response

Eric LeCompte and Jubilee USA Network are featured in Crux on the recent meeting with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and the push to waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. Read an excerpt below and click here for the full article. 

Religious leaders push waiver on patents for COVID vaccines

By John Lavenburg 

If world leaders don’t take steps this fall to get COVID-19 vaccines to the world’s poorest countries, according to Eric LeCompte, the executive director of Jubilee USA Network, then the darkest days of the pandemic still lie ahead.

"Temporarily waiving COVID-19 vaccine patents is an important step to accomplishing that goal," LeCompte said. Earlier this week, religious leaders advocated for that action to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, who expressed support.

“If [the World Trade Organization] doesn’t move forward, we’re not going to have the vaccines we need for global distribution, let alone what it seems now are a necessity for a third shot or booster shot for people who have already been vaccinated in the developed world,” LeCompte told Crux.

The meeting with Tai was the first of its kind between religious leaders and the U.S. Trade Representative. Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Military Services, who is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace, represented the Catholic Church.

LeCompte said Broglio and the other religious leaders were able to “very profoundly share the stories of what’s happening in most of the world” when it comes to the spread of COVID-19, and convey the need for urgent action on issues such as the temporarily waiving the property rights on COVID-19 vaccines.

“It already may be too late to curb some of the great challenges we’re going to face, and that’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate that the World Trade Organization went on vacation instead of dealing with the most urgent matter before it,” LeCompte said. “It’s unfortunate that world leaders have been slow to act over the summer at the G-7 and G-20 with making decisions that need to be made in terms of financing and aid for global vaccine distribution.”

 

Read more here.

 

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