The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) recognition of the exceptional circumstances this year and Pakistan’s relief efforts to the growing threat of coronavirus is hopefully the first step in the Fund acknowledging that developing countries cannot pay off loans in such an environment. Despite the carefully laid out plan by several governments, the lack of any vaccination, the quick spread of the virus and the preventive lockdown measures have impacted economies around the world. The World Bank (WB) has predicted an astronomical fiscal deficit alongside a strong recession for Pakistan as a direct result of the pandemic. If such doomsday predictions are being made for the economy, it is important to take pre-emptive measures to improve the situation for governments around the world.

The first, as appealed by the PM, should be to waive off loans in the current fiscal year to help governments deal with the disaster at hand. Debt servicing is not something we can afford, and all systems have come to a crashing halt due to the fear and spread of the virus. The running of the system would require funds to be allocated differently during this time. It is important for bodies like the IMF to acknowledge this and consider waiving off loans. This will not only benefit the economy of Pakistan but also other economies around the globe.

The Prime Minister has done his part by voicing our concern and appealing to other states for support. The Foreign Office (FO) of Pakistan needs to begin vigilantly contacting nations across the globe that are facing increased economic challenges due to the spread of the coronavirus. If a united front can be presented with more supporters of this call, there is a greater chance for IMF and other international lenders to consider easing out the situation for developing countries. There has been a lot of talk regarding unity and the need to work together; it is time creditors and other stakeholders put this into practice.