By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has appealed to the international community and world bodies to “launch an initiative to give debt relief to developing countries” that are fighting to curb the twin monster of novel coronavirus and ensuing poverty.
“Highly indebted countries” are facing a “lack of fiscal space” that was inhibiting their efforts to prevent the coronavirus from spreading and, at the same time, providing relief to people,” Imran Khan said in a video message telecast on Sunday evening.
He said that the coronavirus pandemic had brought unprecedented economic and health challenges and warned of a global recession which would be worse than the Great Depression of 1930s.
“Developing countries like Pakistan cannot afford to announce huge economic packages [to mitigate the impact of the crisis. Countries like the United States and Japan have announced economic packages worth trillions of dollars whereas Pakistan could only announce a package of $8 billion,” Imran Khan said.
The initiative called “Global Initiative on Debt Relief” will bring together leaders from different countries “notably from the Paris Club, Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and heads of international organisations” to push for a more coordinated response to the pandemic, according to a statement.
Based on the premier’s belief that “enhanced fiscal capacity is fundamental to recovery from the ongoing pandemic” the initiative would lay the ground for urgent debt relief for developing countries without “onerous conditionalities”, the televised statement added.
Prime Minister Imran also called upon international leaders to “step up measures to overcome the disastrous impact of the coronavirus pandemic”.
Pakistan with a GDP of US $ 300 billion, has more than 30 percent population below poverty line.
By Muhammad Luqman