Give developing countries room for social policy

8 December 2005

Give developing countries room for social policy

The SP believes that international donors are allowing developing countries too little space to build effective social policies, seriously compromising attempts to achieve the millennium goals by 2015.

Ewout IrrgangSP Member of Parliament Ewout Irrgang raised this problem today in a parliamentary debate on international donors such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The debate was held in the presence of the Ministers of Finance and Development Cooperation. The SP has previously attempted to draw attention to problems associated with the social sectors and the hiring of adequate numbers of suitable personnel in developing countries.

Under pressure from the poverty-related strategies of these international donors numerous poor countries have moved to liberalise their services sector, while through the obligation strongly to reduce state spending many have been unable to reserve sufficient money to pay for such things as health care and education. The SP wants to see these and other vital sectors exempted from the budgetary ceilings imposed by the international donors. Development Minister Agnes van Ardenne agreed during the recent Development Cooperation budget debate to bring these problems to the attention of the IMF and World Bank. Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm has also now promised to look into the concrete situation in two of the affected countries, namely Kenya en Zambia.

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