IPU: Many parliaments lack oversight of World Bank and IMF loan agreementsListen /
More than 40 per cent of parliaments around the world lack the legal authority to ratify loans negotiated by governments with financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
This is according to a global study jointly undertaken by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the World Bank.
The study reveals that almost two-thirds of parliaments report no involvement whatsoever at any stage of the loan approval process.
IPU Secretary General Anders Johnsson says parliamentary oversight of country loans is important because loans often come with conditions requiring changes to policy or legislation which may adversely impact the lives of ordinary citizens.
He says members of parliament should be able to decide if a loan being taken out by their government is really needed and consider whether it is a burden on the country's budget.
Jemini Pandya is the spokesperson for the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
"Parliamentary oversight of government is a critical component of effective governance, because failures in national development plans have as much to do with poor governance and parliaments have been largely absent from this equation. This is something that IPU is working to rectify. Development results can be improved by strengthening parliament's role of holding governments to account and that’s one of its key functions in any democratic society. This is also a key reason why IPU is advocating the inclusion of a goal on democratic governance in the next set of development goals to follow the MDGs post 2015."
The study which involved parliaments in over 100 developing countries is part of IPU's goal of improving development results by strengthening the accountability role of parliaments.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.