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Lack of debt transparency worries World Bank

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Willy Kambwandira

A World Bank report has bemoaned lack of debt transparency in low income developing countries such as Malawi.

According to the report, released on Wednesday, lack of transparency on debt issues threatens low income countries’ ability to generate resilient and inclusive recovery.

The report says nearly 40 percent of low income developing countries (LIDCs) have neither published debt data on the websites nor updated their debt data in the last two years.

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The report further says, when such data are available, it is only limited to central government loans and securities and excludes other public sector components and debt instruments.

When addressing the United Nations General Assembly this year, President Lazarus Chakwera, who is also LIDCs president, asked developed economies and multilateral lending institutions to consider cancelling debts owed by poor countries including Malawi.

Chakwera’s remarks come at a time Malawi’s debt levels have astronomically risen to K4.1 trillion in recent years.

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Ironically, the country’s debt was cancelled in 2006.

This year alone, Malawi is expected to cough around K376 billion of the K2.19 trillion, or 5.3 percent of gross domestic product, on interest repayment only.

Meanwhile, Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency Executive Director Willy Kambwandira has challenged the government to address long— standing concerns about debt transparency and open up to Malawians on debt levels.

“It is very important for any government to reveal to people sources of funding for infrastructural projects including levels of debt. We agree with the World Bank findings in the report,” he said.

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