Hafeez Shaikh stresses int’l cooperation in fight against coronavirus

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on Monday that international community’s support was imperative to deal with the situation arising from Covid-19.

Speaking at a webinar organised by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the adviser said that debt relief by the developed countries to developing countries would be a timely and positive initiative to control the pandemic outbreak.

He appreciated the debt relief provided to Pakistan by Group 20 countries, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank (WB).

He said that cooperation among all developed countries was needed to cope with the challenges faced by the developing and low-income countries due to coronavirus outbreak, terming the problems arising from the pandemic to be “more serious than the recession of 1930s”.

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He said that the virus had hit the world at a time when it was not prepared for it. 

“Like other countries of the world, Pakistan was also affected badly by the virus. However, the government took some prudent and timely measures to protect its citizens and economy from the virus.”

The adviser informed that the government had launched a corona package to provide relief to people and the business community, adding that cash transfers were made to people, while the government also introduced many initiatives to save people from unemployment.

He said that Pakistan was working with the Netherland and African Union through Credit Vulnerable Liabilities Group to prepare recommendations for the uplift of vulnerable countries. These included delaying debt repayment and maintaining credit rating of affected countries, he added. 

He said that the WB had prepared $160 billion assistance programme so a considerable portion of it should be diverted to Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) programme to help developing countries. 

The adviser said that PM Imran Khan had appreciated the debt suspension initiatives, as well as refunded financing, offered by different financial and donor agencies.

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