Pandemic cannot be confined sans global response, says Khan

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday made an appeal to the international community, especially the developed world and the United Nations (UN), to launch a global initiative on debt relief to help developing countries cope with the challenge of coronavirus.
In a message broadcast to international community, the Prime Minister said that proposed global initiative aims to lay ground for urgent debt relief for the developing countries, at their request, and without onerous conditionalities. The initiative is built on belief that enhanced fiscal capacity is fundamental to recovery from the ongoing pandemic crisis, he added.
The Prime Minister cautioned that the pandemic’s socio-economic impacts would be more consequential in the developing countries. He proposed that the developing countries should 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.
The Prime Minister said the challenge posed by coronavirus is unprecedented in the world. He said two responses are being seen in developed and developing world. He said in developed world, it is focused on containing the virus and dealing with economic impact.
Imran Khan said the developing countries are facing the dilemma of stopping people from getting infected by virus, as the people are dying of hunger due to lockdown measures.
The Prime Minister said there is huge gap in resources available to developed and developing countries. He said many developed countries have allocated huge stimulus packages in the wake of coronavirus. He said USA allocated $2.2 trillion while Germany is spending $1 trillion and Japan is also allocating the same amount for its people. He said Pakistan despite its limited resources and population of over 210 million earmarked $8 billion in the stimulus package.
He also underlined that a global recession is certain. “A global pandemic cannot be contained without strong, coordinated and well-crafted global response,” he stressed.
The global initiative on debt relief would bring together stakeholders on a platform to promote coordinated health and economic response.
During the past week, various announcements had 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.
The Prime Minister also invited the UN Secretary General to work with him in advancing the objectives of a coordinated response.
According to a press release of the PM Office media wing issued on the occasion, as part of his diplomatic outreach, Prime Minister Imran Khan would 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.
He 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.
Meanwhile, Earlier, Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh Sunday called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and briefed him on economic package of the government for the business community.- TLTP