Norway applauded for Myanmar’s debt cancellation

Myanmar government has lauded the decision made by Norway and other creditors to cancel or reissue billions of dollars of external debt.

President U Thein Sein stated in a radio address to the public on Feb 1: “Thanks to the efforts of the government and people, Myanmar sees more progress.”

He said generous debt cancellations that have paved the way for new development loans marked an “important step” in Myanmar’s reentry into the global economy

Myanmar Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås called Norway’s cancellation of $534 million debt  ‘historic.’

“This is the largest developing country debt that we have ever cancelled. I am proud that once again Norway is leading the way,” he said.

The Norwegian government statement said the debt stemmed from a Norwegian ship export program that it ran between 1976 and 1980. The campaign sent shipping equipment and over 150 vessels to 21 countries.

Mr Lex Rieffel, a non-resident senior fellow of global economy and development at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said Norway’s actions reflect its desire to be a “pacesetter in helping Myanmar”.

“I can think of only positive things to say,” Mr Rieffel said. “It is a good sign and clears away a lot of weeds that have been in the way for creditor countries.”

Source: The Myanmar Times

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