ISLAMABAD: The World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a joint statement on Wednesday called on all official bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments from countries of the International Development Association (IDA) which request the abstention following the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.
Pakistan is also on the list of 76 countries eligible to receive IDA resources under concessional loans. Pakistan owed about $ 11 billion to official bilateral creditors of the Paris Club countries and Islamabad had already obtained debt relief in 2002-2003 for 10 years when Pakistan decided to support the United States in its war against terrorism in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. During this period, Pakistan had benefited from a tax cushion on the debt repayment front of official bilateral Paris Club donors. Pakistan had to sign an agreement with each country separately after making an agreement to get a Paris Club concession. It is not yet clear whether Islamabad would seek debt relief from official donors or not at this point, as this correspondent made an effort to contract Federal Minister of Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar to get the version and also sent him a message. but received no response until this report was tabled. .
However, the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund issued a joint statement to the G20 regarding debt relief for the poorest countries and said the coronavirus outbreak is likely to have serious economic consequences. and social for the IDA countries, which are home to a quarter of the world’s population and two-thirds of the world’s population live in extreme poverty.
He said that with immediate effect – and in accordance with the national laws of creditor countries – the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund are calling on all official bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments from IDA countries seeking forbearance. . “This will help meet the immediate liquidity needs of IDA countries to meet the challenges posed by the coronavirus epidemic and will allow time for an assessment of the impact of the crisis and the financing needs for each country,” added the joint press release.
“We invite the leaders of the G20 to instruct the World Bank Group and the IMF to carry out these assessments, in particular by identifying the countries with unsustainable debt, and to prepare a proposal for comprehensive action by the” bilateral creditors ” We will seek approval of the proposal from the Development Committee at spring meetings (April 16 and 17).
“The World Bank Group and the IMF believe it is imperative at this time to provide a sense of global relief to developing countries as well as a strong signal to financial markets. The international community would welcome the support of the G20 to this call to action, ”he added. concluded.
Meanwhile, Federal Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar said, “We welcome the joint WB and IMF statement calling on G20 countries to suspend debt payments from dev [developing] countries. Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged this since the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that it will be accepted, and we also urge the multilaterals to reduce their debts. “