PM Khan seeks debt moratorium, $500bn for emerging nations

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the rich countries to raise at least $500 billion to create fiscal space for developing countries in wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
In his virtual address at the Financing for Development summit at UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said that an amount of $500 billion should be available for the developing countries.
He said the investment in sustainable infrastructure would be key to a resilient economic recovery and realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Welcoming the extensive “Menu of Options” identified by each of the six discussion groups, the Prime Minister said they must prioritize those actions that could have a significant impact and could be quickly implemented.
“First, extension of the G-20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative for at least another year. The request for forbearance under this Initiative should not affect the country’s credit rating, since this is due to force majeure, not mismanagement. Second, the Multilateral Development Banks should participate in the Debt Suspension Initiative. Third, other short-term measures which could cover both official and private creditors include: debt swaps for health, climate and SDGs; debt buy-backs; re-profiling debt; and regional resilience funds,” he suggested.
He said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that developing countries would require an additional $2.5 trillion to recover from COVID-induced contraction.
He stressed the need for creating a UN Infrastructure Investment Facility to mobilize an additional $1.5 trillion annually in the developing countries as the IMF estimates that developing countries will require an additional $2.5 trillion to recover from Covid-induced contraction.
The Prime Minister said, “We must break the shackles of poverty and inequality.” He said that Covid-19 pandemic is inflicting unparalleled human suffering and controlling the virus is critical to address both the health and the economic emergency.
The Prime Minister said, “In Pakistan, our strategy of smart lockdowns has fortunately controlled the spread of the virus.” He said that no one is safe until everyone is safe. He said debt relief is one of the quickest ways to create fiscal space for developing countries. He said that despite difficulties, the Pakistan government launched a relief package worth $8 billion for the masses during the pandemic.
The Prime Minister expressed the hope that a vaccine would be available soon. Everyone, everywhere, must had equitable and affordable access to the vaccine, as a global public good.
The prime minister further said recovery from the recession, as from the pandemic, must be inclusive and equitable. “We must break the shackles of poverty and inequality,” he added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has reaffirmed Pakistan’s full support for the post-conflict Afghanistan on its path to reconstruction and economic development.
The Prime Minister was talking to Chairman High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, who called on him here on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister reiterated his long-standing position that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a political solution is the only way forward. He expressed gratification that the international community has come to recognize this stance and also acknowledged Pakistan’s positive role in facilitation of the Afghan peace process. He said that the US-Taliban Peace Agreement was a major step forward in these endeavours.
He expressed the hope that Afghan leadership would seize this historic opportunity to work together constructively and secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. He underscored that all Afghan parties must work for reduction in violence leading to ceasefire.
The Prime Minister conveyed that Pakistan would support whatever the Afghans agreed upon about the future of Afghanistan.
Extending a warm welcome, the Prime Minister conveyed his best wishes for the successful outcome of the Afghan peace process and expressed the hope that Dr Abdullah Abdullah’s visit would help open a new chapter in the bilateral relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In the bilateral context, the Prime Minister highlighted that Pakistan and Afghanistan have immense trade complementarities and emphasized the need to optimally utilize these capacities for mutually-beneficial trade and transit.
He assured that Pakistan would continue to undertake all efforts to facilitate Afghan transit trade and deepen our bilateral trade and economic ties and people-to-people exchanges with Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister said he was looking forward to his visit to Afghanistan on the invitation of President Ashraf Ghani.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has put together a committee on Tuesday comprising federal ministers to keep an observant check on the opposition’s movement and relevant political dealings,.
The committee will float its recommendations in the cabinet regarding the current opposition movements and will help devise strategies for the government to deal with political matters.
The committee constituted by the PM comprises Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood and Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry.
The committee also includes Federal Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed, Advisor to PM on Accountability and Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar and PM Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan as well.
It is pertinent to note that the government has decided to write once again to Britain authorities with the context of the Pakistani court’s ruling in Nawaz’s case.
Earlier, in the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan it was decided principally to ensure Nawaz’s return at any cost with the assistance of British government. – TLTP

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