RIO DE JANEIRO, JAN. 15 -- Finance Minister Mailson da Nobrega today said Brazil would not start paying 1988 interest on its huge foreign debt unless creditor banks abroad advanced it new loans.
"Brazil will not restart interest payments unless it is assured of guaranteed resources from the banks of at least two-thirds of the value of that interest," Nobrega told a business meeting here.
Brazil owes foreign creditors $112.7 billion, the biggest debt among developing nations. In 1987 it halted interest payments on about $67 billion of that debt for more than 10 months, but recently began making payments on the arrears under a $3 billion short-term package negotiated with the banks.
Creditor banks now negotiating with Brazil had expected it to make 1988 interest payments, but this has not been the case. In fact, Brazil has maintained that it did not have to make 1988 payments until it reached a longer-term accord with its hundreds of creditor banks internationally. It has not repaid any principal on its debt since late 1982.
But Nobrega, the fourth finance minister under Brazil's nearly three-year-old civilian government, has stated that Brazil must seek an overall economic policy agreement with the International Monetary Fund, a sharp departure from the policies of his more nationalistic predecessors.
Brazil halted IMF talks in 1985 on grounds that the presence of IMF inspectors here, who were insisting that Brazil reduce government spending and trim its budget deficit, was an affront to "Brazilian sovereignty."