Pakistan among latest countries to get Paris Club debt relief

PARIS: The Paris Club of creditor nations have agreed to suspend debt service payments from Chad, Ethiopia, Pakistan and Republic of Congo as part of a G20 debt relief deal, the group said.

The Group of 20 leading economies and the Paris Club, an informal group of state creditors coordinated by the French finance ministry, agreed in April to freeze debt payments of the 77 poorest countries this year to free up cash to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest agreements bring to 12 the number of countries to receive debt relief under the deal with a total of $1.1 billion in debt deferred as a result, the Paris Club said, adding 30 countries had requested to benefit.

Earlier in April, the Paris Club had agreed to freeze the debt payments of the 77 poorest countries in 2020 to free up cash for them to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Pakistan in May had formally requested members of G-20 nations for debt relief with a commitment of “not contracting new non-concessional loans, except those allowed under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank guidelines”.

The formal requests were sent to individual countries under the G-20 Covid-19 Debt Service Suspension Initiative.

Pakistan owes $20.7 billion to 11 members of the Group of 20 rich nations. Out of this sum, an amount of $1.8 billion would mature by December 2020, including the interest payments, according to the economic affairs ministry.

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