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As the world’s major trade blocs and financial institutions convene over the next few days to deal with the growing coronavirus crisis, many of the largest religious institutions are urging them to protect the world’s poor by providing debt relief and additional resources.
In recent days, OMI JPIC joined 80 national religious institutions, congregations and partners in a letter organized by Jubilee USA Network to confront the coronavirus crisis. The letter was delivered to the White House, G20 and IMF.
Signers of the letter join calls from Pope Francis, the US Catholic Bishops and 165 world leaders encouraging additional resources, aid and debt relief to ensure all countries can withstand the crisis.
On a positive front, earlier this week the International Monetary Fund approved $500 million to cancel six months of debt payments for 25 of the world’s most impoverished countries: Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo and Yemen.
While applauding this move, Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network is pushing for an expansion of this list to include more countries where people live in extreme poverty.
Also reacting to this week’s events, Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI, Missionary Oblates JPIC director remarked, “the chains of financial indebtedness have imprisoned millions around the world for too many years. We need to continue to press on this critical issue which we have dodged consistently over the decades.” “This crisis may be providing us with ‘no other choice’ scenario as we recognize that we are all in this together,” he adds.
The Missionary Oblates were founders of Jubilee USA and have been active members over the years.
Read more about Jubilee USA Network’s recent actions by visiting their website.
IMF Coronavirus Action: Protect Vulnerable, Prevent Financial Crisis
The coronavirus impacts all of us.
My family and all of us at Jubilee USA are holding you and our world in prayer. Please keep us and our vital mission in your thoughts and prayers as well.
As the coronavirus takes lives, impacts the markets, affects health care and drives a potential global financial crisis – will you sign our urgent IMF petition to cancel debt and expand aid to bolster healthcare for countries affected by Covid-19?
When you sign our petition, you urge actions that can protect all of us from financial crisis, lift the vulnerable and ensure our world emerges to be more resilient in the face of this pandemic.
Because of our work together, we created global processes to bolster healthcare in the developing world when disaster strikes and deathly diseases spread. Ten years ago, when earthquakes decimated Haiti, we moved the International Monetary Fund to create a process to relieve Haiti’s debt and strengthen Haiti’s health and education systems. In 2014, as the Ebola epidemic devastated Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, we successfully transformed that IMF process. The Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust created innovative healthcare grants, debt relief and hundreds of millions of dollars to fight Ebola and put better clinics in place.
Yesterday the head of the IMF told the G20 she wanted to raise the capacity of this catastrophe relief process that can help poor countries wrestling with the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus.
This is very welcome news.
Now we need your help to ensure that more countries can access this and other IMF processes that deliver aid, cancel debt and help our world mitigate the economic and health impacts of the coronavirus. Our petition calls for debt payments to stop while countries battle the coronavirus and its economic impacts.
And yesterday – the President of the World Bank encouraged the G20 to stop debt payments for very poor countries.
African Finance Ministers called for suspension of debt payments to free up $44 billion to fight Covid-19. Ecuador’s Congress also demanded its government stop paying debt.
On Monday, the leadership of Jubilee USA wrote the head of the IMF and urged:
- Bolstering healthcare in developing countries affected by Covid-19 by increasing debt relief and aid through the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust and other expanded processes
- Mobilizing additional financing resources to support all countries impacted by the economic and health impacts of the coronavirus
- Enhancing debt restructuring, issuing debt payment moratoriums and creating expedient debt reprofiling processes for countries impacted by the coronavirus
- Advising countries to emerge from the crisis with more resilience by encouraging policies and agreements to increase protections for the vulnerable, instill greater public budget transparency, implement financial crisis and market protections, promote responsible lending and borrowing and curb corruption and tax evasion
Jubilee USA’s executive committee, Reverend Steve Herder, Celeste Drake, Rabbi Matthew Cutler, Reverend Aniedi Okure and myself noted in our letter to the head of the IMF:
“Economic forecasts warn that a possible financial crisis or depression, spurred by the coronavirus, could be worse than the 2008 financial crisis. Nearly 100 million people, mostly women and children, were pushed into extreme poverty and 22 million jobs were lost worldwide in the 2008 crisis. The International Labor Organization says the numbers of jobs lost could surpass 50 million as a result of a new, deeper financial crisis… A well-designed, globally-coordinated response from the international community can go a long way to prevent and mitigate the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis and move us towards a recovery path.”
Please join us now and urge International Monetary Fund action.
In the coming days and weeks, Jubilee USA will offer more analysis and recommendations for US and international decision makers. More than ever, we are counting on you to take action and join our campaigns.
With our voices joined together, we can recover from this moment and build a more resilient global community.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released new proposals for preventing predatory hedge funds and hold-out investors from blocking debt restructurings. The paper proposes a series of reforms to debt contracts, including strengthened collective action clauses and a modification of the pari passu clause that hold-out hedge funds used to sue Argentina.
“In the wake of debt restructurings in Argentina and Greece, the IMF is incredibly concerned about vulture funds,” stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious anti-poverty coalition, Jubilee USA Network. “The IMF is advocating a market approach, but we also need a statutory approach. We need to change both the contracts and the laws.”
Click here to read more »
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a staff paper noting that corporate tax avoidance negatively impacts all economies, but hurts developing countries the most. The IMF’s release comes as the G20, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and United Nations bodies seek vehicles to diminish corporate tax avoidance.
“The developing world loses more in corporate tax avoidance than it receives in aid from developed countries,” stated Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious anti-poverty group, Jubilee USA Network. “The paper shows that when multinational corporations shift their profits to another country to pay less taxes, we see higher levels of global inequality.”
The IMF paper is entitled “Spillovers in International Corporate Taxation.” “Spillovers” are the impact of one country’s policies on another country. By shifting profits to countries with low tax-rates (often so-called “tax havens”), corporations avoid paying their taxes in the countries where they make those profits. The paper notes that this is a particularly large problem in developing countries, which need corporate taxation to fund social services. The paper argues that “many developing countries…need to be better protected against the avoidance of tax on capital gains on natural resources.”
“These ‘spillovers’ are more like a flood,” noted LeCompte. “For every $1 poor countries are receiving in official aid, nearly $10 is leaving through corruption and tax avoidance.”
Read the IMF paper.
Thanks to Jubilee USA for this information.
Ukraine Economy and US Leadership at Stake
190 policy experts, business and academic leaders, and former Senate-confirmed appointees who had oversight responsibilities for organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank yesterday delivered a unified message to Congress: promptly enact IMF quota reform legislation. Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI signed the letter on behalf of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The Oblates have long supported New Rules for Global Finance, which works for fundamental reforms at the IMF.
The broad-based bipartisan letter to Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Reid comes at a time when Congress is considering a $1 billion bilateral emergency assistance package for Ukraine to help the country stabilize its economy during its crisis with Russia. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN) displayed the foresight and joint leadership to respond strongly to the Ukraine crisis by introducing the Ukraine relief bill, which includes the IMF quota reform legislation. Ukraine is also seeking IMF assistance directly.
Treasury Under Secretaries Tim Adams, David McCormick, David Mulford, and Jeffrey Shafer, and five IMF Executive Directors that served under Republican Administrations, among other former senior government officials, support the IMF reform legislation. “The IMF has played a crucial role in the global approach to recent financial crises and in navigating the world economy through severe threats. While the United States is on a path to recovery, threats remain…and the IMF has been called upon to support reform in Ukraine. In times like these, a financially strengthened and reformed IMF is in the U.S. interest,” notes the letter.
Click here to read more »
Jubilee USA Supporters Picket the IMF
The International Monetary Fund Executive Board has approved the final 2.7 billion dollars from recent gold sale profits to support the world’s poorest. The total gold sales windfall has now reached nearly 4 billion dollars to benefit the most vulnerable. One of the most powerful institutions in the world decided the right way because ordinary people cared – and acted.
At first, the IMF barely acknowledged the profit and assumed it could remain in their general reserves. Word leaked out about possible major renovations of the IMF office space in Washington, DC.
In response, Jubilee USA, of which the Oblates are a member, delivered tens of thousands of petitions and organized 60 global partners to push the IMF towards debt relief. At the end of February 2012, the IMF Board made a decision on the first distribution of 1.1 billion dollars after Jubilee, the ONE Campaign, ActionAid and Oxfam International met with the IMF staff.
These efforts pushed the IMF to approve the first 1.1 billion dollar distribution AND the second 2.7 billion dollar distribution to support concessional lending in the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) and extend a 0% interest rate that will make this trust available for future generations beyond 2014. While many of us have concerns about IMF lending, this 0% extension on existing loans will mean real relief for millions of people and translate into direct support for low-income countries.
For more information about Jubilee USA, please visit their website – and get involved! Go to: www.jubileeusa.org
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