Civil societies demand: Cancel foreign loans taken against public interest


Staff Reporter :
As the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings continue in Washington, civil society groups worldwide are protesting against the debt catastrophe on yesterday.

As part of that, Bangladesh civil societies organized a protest rally in front of the National Press Club on Friday in Dhaka.

Their primary demand is that the illegitimate debt imposed on the people be cancelled immediately because the World Bank and IMF have reparations to pay.

The civil society activists in Dhaka have also demanded the cancellation of all foreign loans that were taken against the public interest.

The protest rally was chaired by General Secretary of Bangladesh Farmers Federation Zayed Iqbal Khan and moderated by Coast Foundation Director Mustafa Kamal Akand.

Joy Bangla Jatiyo Sramik Federation’s Lovely Yasmin, Coast Foundation’s Deputy Executive Director Sanat Kumar Bhowmik, Waterkeepers Bangladesh’s Iqbal Farooq, World Rural Women’s Day Observation Committee’s General Secretary Ferdous Ara Rumi, CPRD’s Sheikh Noor Ataiah Rabbi, and Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity’s General Secretary Engineer Foyej Ahmed Khan spoke at the rally.

Coast Foundation Deputy Executive Director Sanat Kumar Bhowmik said in his speech that Bangladesh is offered a loan for the development of local communities affected by the Rohingya refugees and to deal with climate change mitigation.

“We are not responsible in any part for such problems. So why should we take a loan for this? Those who are responsible for this should compensate us instead,” he said.


Ferdous Ara Rumi, general secretary of the World Rural Women’s Day Observation Committee, said developed countries like Germany pay an average of 1.5 percent interest on loans, and the US gives 3.1 percent

. In comparison, African countries pay an average interest of 11.6 percent, and Asian countries pay 6.5 percent .

“The poorer the country, the higher its interest rate. Because they are taking these higher-interest loans from private institutions as public institutions no longer lend to them,” she said.

Mostafa Kamal Akand of the Coast Foundation said that developing countries are exhausting their resources to pay the interest on their debts.

“The 139 World Bank-borrower countries spend 35 percent of their revenue budgets on debt repayment. Low-income countries (LIC) and lower-middle-income countries (LMIC) pay 57.5% and 44.5 percent, respectively.

“We refuse this public debt imposed on the poor because the World Bank and the IMF are responsible for their poverty. They should pay historical debt, not debt.”

In addition, the global civil society also created a Twitter storm by posting their protest messages on Twitter yesterday at 8 pm Bangladesh time.