In the mid-eighties, the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation (CFTC)'s Economic and Legal Advisory Services Division created a computer-based debt management system, the Commonwealth Secretariat Debt Recording and Management System (CS-DRMS). As of 1993, CS-DRMS is now being used in the governments or central banks of 35 Commonwealth and five non-Commonwealth countries, and is being installed in a further two countries. In this respect, CS-DRMS has become the world's leading debt management package. The system's database holds a list of all a nation's external loans and the repayment terms, with regular reminders of when and how much to pay, and calculates the long-term costs of debt rescheduling. In setting up the system, Commonwealth consultants research the country's needs and institutional environment. Then experts install the system and train locals how to use the system, and often, long-term technical help in collecting information about foreign debt is also provided.
If loans are used to finance an excess of imports over exports or to make interest payments on existing debt then debt accumulates. Countries which are running this sort of resource gap should monitor the behaviour and relationship of a number of critical debt-related variables. These include the debt growth rate and the rate at which exports and income are growing, the size of the resource gap relative to income or debt, and the interest rate at which they are borrowing. In particular they need to ensure that neither the interest rate nor the growth of debt persistently exceeds the growth of exports or income.
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