ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for a “Global Initiative on Debt Relief in wake of coronavirus pandemic.

In a message broadcast to international community, the Prime Minister said COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented health and economic challenges. He expressed fear that global recession might be worse than the Great Depression. He stressed that a global pandemic cannot be contained without strong, coordinated and well-crafted global response.

The Prime Minister invited the UN Secretary General to work with him in advancing the objectives of a coordinated response. He cautioned that the pandemic’s socio-economic impacts would be more consequential in the developing countries.

While proposing the Initiative, Imran Khan highlighted that his government has provided an 8 billion US dollars 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.

Imran Khan proposes developing countries be provided with fiscal space and financial relief through enhanced debt relief and restructuring

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 from a wide range of countries notably from Paris Club, Highly Indebted Poor Countries, 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.” 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 were made by multilateral actors such as the UN, the IMF, and the World Bank. The announcements made include initial relief packages of 1.4 billion US dollars by the IMF, and one billion US dollars by the World Bank.

The proposed Global Initiative aims to lay ground for urgent debt relief to the developing countries, at their request, and without onerous conditionality. 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 made this appeal to the international community after meeting his Advisor on Finance Dr Hafeez Sheikh and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and reviewed the overall economic situation in the country in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

 

Earlier, PM Imran Khan chaired a high-level meeting to review situation in the aftermath of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the steps to control its spread besides, considering the strategy to ensure continuity in the industrial and economic activities and future planning.               

 

The meeting was attended by federal ministers including Makhdoom Khusru Bakhtiar, Asad Umar, Ijaz Ahmed Shah, Omar Ayub, Hamad Azhar, Syed Fakhar Imam, PM’s advisor Abdul Razak Dawood, PM’s special assistants Dr Moeed Yousaf, Dr Zafar Mirza, barrister Shahzad Akbar, Tania Adrius, focal person on coronavirus Dr Faisal, chairman National Disaster Management Authority and senior officials, PM office media wing in a press release said.

 

Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar and Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan also participated in the meeting through video link.