Public Debt Management and the role of Parliament, in times of COVID-19 and beyond

In some countries, public debt is eating up government financial means and undermining implementation of the SDGs. If rising debt costs are not addressed (restructured or reduced), new revenues will not give governments the fiscal space they need to strengthen healthcare systems, pursue women’s economic empowerment programs, ensure free public education through secondary school, or adapt infrastructure to mitigate for climate change, for example. As parliaments have the power to oversee the budgetary measures adopted to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, they also have an urgent duty to scrutinize the increasing public debt. Often, parliaments and MPs have little information at hand on the public debt situation and strategy to tackle that debt. Parliaments should be provided with detailed information on the structure, sources and long-term estimated effects of debts as well as the conditions attached to credits and loans.