The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC ) Chamber of Commerce and Industry ,an apex trade body in the region, Wednesday urged  the World Bank,IMF,G-20 and Asian Development bank to write off loans of all South Asian countries to offset ever increasing in memory looming threat of Coronavirus badly crippling their impecunious economies.

Talking to a delegations of exporters led by Muslim Khan Banouri, President designate SAARC Chamber Iftikhar Ali Malik said that world bank depicted appalling pictures of the impending hovering impact of Coronavirus on the fragile economies of the poverty stricken South Asian countries that will severely hit their GDP to its lowest ebb resulting irreparable colossal financial losses besides rendering a record number of people jobless.

He said they fully support Prime Minister Imran Khan’s stance to write off the loans of the under developed countries for alleviating this financial burden to protect the most vulnerable already struggling to cope with the challenge with limited resources & infrastructure to fight this pandemic.

He said The World Bank’s recent report on the economies of the South Asian countries is very alarming as it predicted that the South Asian region, comprising eight countries, is likely to show economic growth of 1.8% to 2.8% this year.

He pointed out that measures taken to counter the coronavirus have disrupted supply chains across South Asia, which has recorded more than 13,000 cases so far — still lower than many parts of the world. India’s lockdown of 1.3 billion people has also left millions out of work, disrupted big and small businesses and forced an exodus of migrant workers from the cities to their homes in villages.

Iftikhar Malik 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.He said South Asia faces a grim reckoning if the outbreak accelerates. Of all the regions seriously affected so far, it is the least prepared to handle an explosion in cases. Health care in the region is already weak, marked by low levels of funding and access to services.

He urged countries to expand their efforts to find cases and prepare hospitals. “As the situation evolves, countries would need to scale up accordingly,” he said.

Iftikhar Ali Malik, however, he is optimistic that South Asia has a couple of advantages in the fight against the coronavirus — a predominantly youthful population and a sizable generic drug industry. “If the virus follows the pattern of the flu, cases will recede as temperatures soar in May and June before reemerging in July and August,” he concluded.