PM Imran reiterates call for debt relief & says Global response needed to defeat virus

News Desk

The Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that a global response was required to defeat the Covid19 pandemic, saying that “we [countries around the world] are all connected”.

The Prime Minister expressed his views while addressing a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) through video link on Wednesday.

Imran Khan said, “The upcoming year isn’t just a challenge for Pakistan. It’s a challenge for the entire globe. When this pandemic hit the world, every country looked inside and became insular. But ultimately we are all connected and therefore our response has to be global.”

According to report, the Prime Minister said that several countries in the developing world do not possess the fiscal space to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. He said G20 countries are working on a debt relief but we need more details.

Explaining why developing countries around the world needed the relief, the prime minister said that countries like “ours need fiscal space to divert resources to healthcare and the environment,” adding that healthcare systems all over the world are in “direct line of fire of this pandemic”.

He added that he has spoken to the leaders of Nigeria, Ethiopia and Egypt and they had informed him that they were facing similar economic issues, such as drops in exports and revenue.

The prime minister said that the developed world has experienced the coronavirus pandemic differently than countries in the Indian subcontinent.

“Firstly, the speed with which this virus spread in the Europe and the US, it simply did not spread here. We [Indian subcontinent] had to face a twin challenge. One was to stem the growth of the virus, but the bigger challenge was how to mitigate the effects of a lockdown on our population amid rising poverty,” Khan added.

Imran Khan told the WEF that millions in Pakistan would have starved if the government had not lifted the lockdown meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“In Pakistan, we have 25 million workers who are either daily-wagers or are self-employed, and these are 25 million families, so I’d say our lockdown affected 120-150 million in total. These people were facing stark poverty, and unless these people work, they will starve. So what we did was, and I’m proud of my government for this, that we started a cash disbursement programme,” the prime minister said, as he briefed the forum on some of the measures the country took to deal with the pandemic.

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