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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): We have noted with interest the group's report, and we are giving serious consideration to the proposed pilot scheme to which it relates.
What progress is being made in rescheduling and relieving the commercial debts of the most heavily indebted poor countries.[HL2258]
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Five countries have now reached decision point under the enhanced HIPC initiative (Uganda, Bolivia, Mauritania, Tanzania and Mozambique) and are receiving debt relief. All five benefit from the UK Government's decision to provide 100 per cent relief to countries qualifying under the HIPC initiative.
G7 Finance Ministers, meeting in Washington at the time of the IMF Spring Meetings last month, reaffirmed their wish to see the IMF, the World Bank and eligible countries co-operate closely to secure the implementation of the HIPC initiative, with the aim that the eligible countries reach their decision point by the end of 2000, in line with the Cologne target (three-quarters of eligible countries).
The UK government are disappointed that more countries have not yet benefited from the enhanced initiative agreed at last year's Annual Meetings. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for International Development wrote to the Acting Managing Director of the IMF and the Chairman of the World Bank last month urging them to set up a HIPC Implementation Group that could be responsible for monitoring and managing the timetable. The UK therefore welcomes the announcement made by the IMF and World Bank last month that they will set up a Joint HIPC Implementation Committee which will monitor progress in implementing the HIPC programme and provide regular briefings to the boards of both institutions.
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