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Prime Minister Imran Khan’s debt relief initiative highlighted at international webinar

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  • Post last modified:29/07/2020
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NEW YORK: Pakistan’ Prime Minister Imran Khan’s debt relief initiative was designed to provide adequate fiscal space for the developing countries to manage and recover from the grave crisis set off by the coronavirus pandemic, Ambassador Munir Akram said Tuesday, while speaking at a webinar in which noted international experts took part.

Ambassador Akram was participating in the online discussion on “Sovereign Debt: Emerging Issues and Challenges” in his capacity as the President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and co-chairman of the group on debt relief.

The webinar was convened by the Intergovernmental Group of 24 on international monetary affairs and development, which was established in 1971 as a chapter of the Group of 77 (developing countries) to coordinate the positions of developing countries on development finance issues.

Launching his initiative in April, Prime Minister Imran khan urged international stakeholders for urgent debt relief for developing countries so they can deal more effectively with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

In his remarks, Ambassador Akram said, “In the group that we have convened following the Prime Minister of Pakistan’s debt proposal and the UN Secretary General’s initiative on financing, the debt group is considering four areas: the G-20’s debt suspension initiative; debt restructuring for Middle income countries; alternatives to debt relief and restructuring, and reform of the financial architecture,” he said.

(The G-20 is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union).

While welcoming the G-20’s debt suspension initiative, the ambassador identified four issues: why all eligible countries haven’t applied for the debt suspension? Secondly, the period of the debt suspension , which depends on how long the COVID crisis lasts. Third, expansion of the coverage to include middle income countries in debt distress, and fourth, participation of private sector creditors which holds the largest part of the developing countries’ debt.

The Ambassador underscored the importance of securing participation of private creditors in the debt suspension, which was extensively discussed by the experts in the webinar, and of multilateral development banks. He also highlighted the option of reallocation of Special Drawing Rights or creation of new SDRs by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“I believe the contributions that have been made at the forum today are extremely valuable and we would be looking forward to further such contributions as we go forward in trying to put together many of our options for financing and debt, he added.

he webinar included renowned scholars and officials from multilateral international organizations, including the IMF and the World Bank.

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.