Bolivia returns $350m to IMF, citing violations of ‘sovereignty and economic interests’

19 Feb 21

Bolivia’s central bank has returned a loan of nearly $350m plus interest to the International Monetary Fund, claiming it had been improperly negotiated by the previous government.

Web_BoliviaRoad_shutterstock_308850698.jpg

A rural road in Bolivia

A rural road in Bolivia. Image © Shutterstock

The loan was taken out in April 2020 by the interim government of Jeanine Áñez, who had taken power in a coup after ousting long-time left-wing president Evo Morales.

At the time, the IMF said the money would be used to help Bolivia deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the Central Bank of Bolivia has now paid back a total of $351.5m, claiming in it was doing so “in defence of the economic sovereignty of the country and respect for the political constitution of the state”.

“This loan, in addition to being irregular and onerous due to financial conditions, generated millions in additional economic costs for the Bolivian state, which as of February 2021 amounted to $19.6m due to exchange rate variation and $4.7m in commissions and interest,” the bank said.

“The analysis carried out by the Central Bank of Bolivia also determined the IMF’s so-called Rapid Financing Instrument, conditioned on a series of fiscal, financial, exchange and monetary impositions… violated the sovereignty and economic interests of the country.”

The bank said it will pursue “administrative, civil and criminal actions” against officials who participated in the negotiation with the IMF.

PFF has approached the IMF for comment.

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