HC Deb 29 October 2003 vol 412 cc256-8W
Mr. David Marshall

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total amount of debt owed to the UK by other countries was in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by country. [134726]

Ruth Kelly

Most of the debt owed by sovereign Governments to the UK Government arises from defaults on export contracts guaranteed by the Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD). Such debts usually become the subject of Bilateral Debt Agreements entered into under the auspices of the Paris Club of official creditors. Table 1 shows the debt owed to the UK Government as at 30 September 2003 under Paris Club Arrangements.

In addition to debt rescheduled in the Paris Club, ECGD holds unrecovered claims on a number of countries, by far the largest of which is Iraq, where ECGD has unrecovered claims of approximately £620 million.

The UK Government has already announced its commitment to providing 100 per cent. irrevocable debt relief for all countries eligible for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) upon their reaching Completion Point. In addition, for eligible HIPC countries yet to reach Decision Point, the UK does not ask for, or expect to receive, payments. Any debt payments that are made are held in trust until they can be returned to fund poverty reduction.

The debts of Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda were all cancelled when they reached the HIPC Completion Point.

The Department for International Development (DfID) no longer provides aid loans to low income countries. However, Table 2 shows the outstanding debt owed to DFID as of 31 March 2003 from loans made in previous years. In 1978, the Government cancelled nearly all of its aid debts to low-income countries, which were worth £1.2 billion. In September 1997, the Government launched the Commonwealth Debt Initiative (CDI). Under the CDI, the Government announced that it was willing to cancel the remaining aid debts, worth £132 million, of those poorer (lower-middle income) Commonwealth countries who were committed to the Millennium Development Goals, who were following sound economic policies, who promoted accountable and transparent governance and who were bearing down on corruption. To date, 12 countries have benefited from this initiative.

Table 1—total amounts outstanding on Paris club agreements as at 30 September 2003
£ million
Market Total owed as at 30/09/03
Algeria 145.093
Angola 130.409
Argentina 35.533
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.562
Brazil 274.543
Cameroon1 64.098
Central African Republic 0.361
Congo 159.842
Cote D'Ivoire 18.898
Croatia 61.524
Cuba 97.110
Democratic Republic of Congo1 75.267
Ecuador 65.761
Egypt 151.92
Ethiopia1 11.76
Gabon 139.784
Ghana1 27.745
Guinea Republic1 3.887
Guyana1 35.709
Indonesia 785.053
Jamaica 1.497
Jordan 402.51
Kenya 18.856
Liberia 20.594
Macedonia 3.742
Madagascar1 27.179
Malawi1 0.391
Morocco 25.255
Nicaragua1 0.991
Niger1 8.232
Nigeria 4.494.293
Pakistan 9.145
Peru 124.814
Philippines 11.146
Poland 789.497
Russia 736.587
Senegal1 1.419
Serbia and Montenegro 306.876
Sierra Leone1 3.509
Somalia 31.897
Sudan 580.824
Togo 19.359
Vietnam 10.105
Zambia1 174.396
Totals 10,008.973
1 Decision point HIPC


Total owed includes principal and interest including any arrears.

Table 2—Outstanding debt owed to the Department for International Development as at 31 March 2003
Country Amount
Brazil 954,852.21
Cayman Island 99.70
Columbia 69,067.19
Costa Rica 174,886.14
Cyprus 59,374.00
Ecuador 7,418,148.69
Egypt 1,737,760.81
Ghana 2,736,275.01
Table 2—Outstanding debt owed to the Department for International Development as at 31 March 2003
Country Amount
Guyana 16,941,962.08
Honduras 746,666.72
Ivory Coast 1,264,777.00
Jordan 14,057,480.78
Malaysia 815,159.31
Mozambique 67,500.00
Nicaragua 398,200.00
Nigeria 4,233,084.04
Paraguay 821,148.00
Peru 4,633,373.96
Philippines 1,006,985.25
Senegal 48,329.67
Seychelles 7,885,673.72
St Kitts 2,734,970
Turkey 9,636,553.52
Zambia 23,115,320.27
Zimbabwe 9,229,420.70
Total 110,787,068.77