ANSAR M BHATTI
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan, today, appealed for a “Global Initiative on Debt Relief”. While noting that COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented health and economic challenges, the Prime Minister underlined that a global recession was certain, one worse than the Great Depression. A global pandemic cannot be contained without strong, coordinated and well-crafted global response, he stressed.
The Global Initiative on Debt Relief will bring together stakeholders on a platform to promote coordinated health and economic response. During the past week, various announcements have been made by multilateral actors such as the UN, the IMF, and the World Bank. The announcements made include initial relief packages of US $ 1.4 billion by the IMF, and US $ 1 billion by the World Bank.
Prime Minister Imran Khan invited the Secretary General to work with him in advancing the objectives of a coordinated response.
The proposed Global Initiative aims to lay ground for urgent debt relief to the developing countries, at their request, and without onerous conditionalities. The Initiative is built on the Prime Minister’s belief that enhanced fiscal capacity is fundamental to recovery from the ongoing pandemic crises. The Prime Minister cautioned that the pandemic’s socio-economic impacts would be more consequential in the developing countries.
While proposing the Initiative, the Prime Minister highlighted that his Government had provided a $ 8 billion stimulus package to help the most vulnerable Pakistanis.
Noting the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for action, the Prime Minister also urged world leaders to step up measures to help developing countries to overcome disastrous impacts of COVID-19. He proposed that the developing countries be provided with fiscal space and financial relief through enhanced debt relief and restructuring and other additional measures that could help them manage the unfolding crisis.
As part of his diplomatic outreach, Prime Minister Imran Khan will be approaching Heads of State/Government from a wide range of countries notably from Paris Club, Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), heads of International Organizations and others concerned to join him in this endeavor.
The Prime Minister has entrusted the Foreign Minister and the Adviser on Finance to reach out to their respective counterparts to work for the “Global Initiative on Debt Relief” with the objectives of relieving developing countries of the financial challenge from the COVID-19 pandemic and realizing sustainable development.