News Release

Congressional Commission Slams IMF; Analysts Available for Interviews

The new report from the International Financial Institutions Advisory Commission, created by Congress in 1998, is adding to calls for drastic reform of the International Monetary Fund. The “Meltzer Commission” report urges full cancellation of the debts owed by poor countries to the IMF and the World Bank as well as significant reduction of the role of these institutions. Congressional hearings on these issues begin this week. The following analysts are available for interviews:

MARIE CLARKE
Co-director of the Quixote Center, Clarke said: “A Congressional Commission with members across the political spectrum came together with the common message of 100 percent debt cancellation and an end to long-term lending by the IMF. This indicates a common disillusionment with the IMF and should be the starting point for Congressional action.”
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ROBERT NAIMAN
Senior policy analyst with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Naiman said: “The Commission agreed that the debt of the poor countries to the IMF and the World Bank should be totally cancelled and that the role of these institutions should be dramatically reduced. The IMF is buffeted by increasing Congressional hostility and anticipated mass protests at its April meeting [in Washington, D.C.; see http://www.a16.org]. The U.S. Treasury Department, which continues to insist that the IMF and the World Bank must run the economies of poor countries despite the economic and social destruction they have caused, is increasingly isolated.”
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NJOKI NJOROGE NJEHU
Director of the 50 Years is Enough Network, Njehu said: “It’s very important that the diverse Commission membership was unified in saying that the debts of the world’s most impoverished countries should be simply cancelled. These debts are literally unpayable, and have been paid in practical terms by decades of harsh but failed austerity programs imposed by the creditor institutions, led by the IMF. Even more important is that the Commission recommended that the IMF cease long-term development lending; that would prevent the IMF from re-starting its destructive debt-and-austerity cycle.”
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DOUG HELLINGER
Executive director of the Development Group for Alternative Policies, Hellinger said: “The Commission would correctly circumscribe the influence of the IMF and the World Bank, but it incorrectly suggests that the attraction of foreign private capital and the funding of anti-poverty programs, service delivery and institutional reforms will yield sustainable economic development.”
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The Commission report is available through www.house.gov/jec/press/2000/03-08-0.htm

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167