May 21, 2013
IMF urged to use gold profits to aid poor nations
A global coalition of development groups urged the International Monetary Fund to use windfalls from the sale of 403.3 tonnes of IMF gold to write off the debts of poor countries.
The coalition of 58 groups, including Oxfam, ActionAid, ONE, global Jubilee networks and the International Trade Union Confederation, put the windfall at $2.8 billion. The IMF declined to confirm the number.
IMF member countries begin talks this week on what to do with the profits from the gold sales, which were completed in December amid record prices in bullion.
"The moral choice is clear: the IMF should use its excess money for debt cancellation and non-debt creating assistance for the poorest," said Melinda St. Louise, Jubilee USA's deputy director.
In a joint statement, the groups noted that the external debts of poor countries have increased as they faced the global economic downturn and now rising food and fuel prices.
They said the IMF would consider in the meeting on Wednesday three ways to use the gold profits: absorbing the funds into an endowment; placing the money into a reserve fund; and using it to assist poor countries hit by financial and other crises.
An IMF spokesman confirmed that discussions on the matter would begin shortly, ahead of meetings of global finance chiefs in Washington starting next week.
"The executive board will have a preliminary discussion on the use of excess gold profits soon," IMF spokesman Alistair Thomson said. "We expect the Board will consider a range of possible options," he added.