Eran raises key concerns of developing nations at G 24 meet | Sunday Observer

Eran raises key concerns of developing nations at G 24 meet

State Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Eran Wickramaratne last week called on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) to increase their assistance on liability management as an area of priority and to develop a more comprehensive and transparent debt reporting system.

Addressing a press conference for the G24, a Ministerial grouping presently chaired by Wickramaratne, the Minister highlighted concerns on debt vulnerability, climate change and the trade friction that exists with the potential loss of confidence in a rules-based trading system.

“Debt risk to debt sustainability in many countries, particularly low-income countries, has increased; therefore, responsible borrowing and policies to ensure fiscal sustainability will reduce these vulnerabilities,” Wickramaratne said. He urged countries to attain an open, rules-based, multilateral, and equitable trading system that benefits all and strengthens the contribution of trade in the global economy.

The Group of 24 (G24), a chapter of the G-77, was established in 1971 to coordinate the positions of developing countries on international monetary and development finance issues and to ensure that their interests were adequately represented in negotiations on international monetary matters. The IMF provides secretariat services for the Group during meetings that usually take place twice a year.

Meanwhile, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy, who also attended the press conference, raised concerns on the plight of small States, which were encouraged to develop as offshore financial centres some years ago.

Noting that these centres were originally established upon advice given to them even by the multilaterals, he, however, pointed out that there is a lot of pressure being applied on them. According to him, this is because developed countries find that they have lost a lot of their taxation and hence are struggling to sustain their welfare states.

“And these countries are now in a rather difficult predicament, having first been encouraged to develop as offshore financial centres, and now the viability of those offshore financial centres which they have created comes under pressure. That is another dimension to the problem which probably needs to be looked at,” Governor Coomaraswamy said.

Apart from Sri Lanka, other countries in the G24 include India, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, Philippines, Syria, Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Congo, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.