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Seanad Éireann debate -
Thursday, 1 May 1997

Vol. 151 No. 7

International Development Association (Amendment) Bill, 1997 [Certified Money Bill]: Committee and Final Stages.

Section 1 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 2 stand part of the Bill."

The Minister mentioned the debt repayments to Uganda and referred to the $700 million moratorium which has been given. The Ugandan people are not going to benefit one whit from that debt reduction. It will only mean that the Government will be able to reduce the amount of money it owes. The Ugandan authorities will be able to write off $700 million of moneys which they have received from the international community and which they have misused. These moneys have not been used for the benefit of the Ugandan people. Writing off debts to corrupt Governments is not, in my view, the way forward. Unless the Ugandan people benefit from this debt reduction, there is no point whatsoever to it.

I do not have any in-depth knowledge of the current Government in Uganda other than what I have read about the difficulty and chaos there. One could, however, have an expectation that democracy will begin to flourish in the future and that people will ultimately take power and run a good Government. At least a better Government at that point would not be saddled with the debt of its forbears and would be in a position to invest whatever money it can borrow or generate in infrastructural and educational projects and so on. We would all desire that. This is a very difficult dilemma. On the one hand, if one keeps the adding to the burden of debt, the prospect of any kind of democracy emerging from such a situation is very remote. On the other hand, people can be encouraged and can raise their heads in the hope of ultimately having a better Government which will not be burdened by debt to the same extent. That is a positive scenario for the future even it is not achievable now. It is ironic that many of the funds which have now been overlooked were totally misused by corrupt Governments.

Question put and agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without recommendation, received for final consideration and ordered to be returned to the Dáil.
Sitting suspended at 11.30 a.m. and resumed at 12 noon.