In the wake of the global pandemic of coronavirus, Prime Minister Imran Khan has called on developed countries to waive debt repayments of developing countries including Pakistan.
In a special address to the international community, PM Khan urged world leaders, financial institutions, and the United Nations to launch a debt relief initiative for developing countries to help them combat the deadly virus.
Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, even poor countries have been forced to impose an all-out lockdown, forcing mass unemployment and starvation, Khan mentioned.
My appeal to the international community, the UNSG & international financial institutions to respond positively to the dilemma confronting developing countries in the face of the COVID19 pandemic. #Global_Initiative_Debt_Relief pic.twitter.com/EfydRhfZhc
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 12, 2020
The premier was concerned that more people in developing countries like Pakistan and Iran will die of hunger than coronavirus.
Apart from containing the virus and dealing with the economic crisis, our biggest worry now is the people dying of hunger. The dilemma on one side [is] stopping the people dying from the virus [and] on the other hand, preventing deaths from hunger as a result of the lockdown.
Another problem in the fight against coronavirus, Khan noted, is the huge difference in resources available with developed and developing nations. He was referring to the stimulus package of $8 billion from Pakistan in contrast to relief packages of $2.2 trillion, €1 trillion, and $1 trillion from the United States, Germany, and Japan, respectively.
This is the issue with most of the developing world, especially the developing world that’s suffering from a very high debt-to-GDP ratio.
He maintained that these highly-indebted countries are now facing a lack of fiscal space.
PM Khan said that the country is now left with very little to spend on the already-overstretched health services and to prevent people from dying of hunger.
All economic activities across the country have come to a halt as coronavirus lockdown enters its fourth week. If the lock continued for three months, as recommended, the economy will sustain losses of around Rs. 2 trillion to Rs. 2.5 trillion while almost 18.5 million people will lose their jobs.