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G20 suspends debt payments for poor countries for another 6 months

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ISLAMABAD: G20 countries have announced an additional six-month extension of the debt suspension initiative for the world’s poorest countries, until June 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

We have agreed to extend the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) for six months, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al Jadaan said after a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors reported. international media.

In its final statement after the meeting, the group said the extension would be until June 30 next year and could be extended until the end of 2021, when the IMF and World Bank meet. next spring.

In light of the continued pressure on liquidity, while gradually addressing debt vulnerabilities, we have agreed to extend the DSSI for six months, the statement said.

The group also agreed to review by the spring 2021 meetings whether the economic and financial situation requires a further extension of the DSSI for another 6 months, the statement added. The 20 most industrialized countries pledged in April to suspend debt service to the world’s most vulnerable countries until the end of the year as they face a sharp economic contraction caused by the pandemic .

The suspension of more than $ 14 billion in debt repayments was due to expire at the end of the year. The announcement comes after campaigners and the World Bank demanded that the debt suspension initiative be extended until the end of 2021. Some charities like Oxfam had said it was to be extended until 2022.

The DSSI received 46 applications from eligible countries around the world, most from Africa, the G20 said last month.

Transparency International, Amnesty International and a collective of groups called CIVICUS had written to G20 finance ministers ahead of their meeting to warn them that the world is facing a crisis like none of the last century and that debt suspension is only a matter of course. ‘a first step.

Although the global economy has begun a gradual recovery with the reopening of businesses and borders, the recovery has been very uneven. The groups said many of the poorest countries still spend more on debt repayment than on vital public services.

They urged G20 countries to cancel existing debt until at least 2021. Some countries, such as Pakistan, have called for outright cancellation of debt payments.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, while addressing the UN session last month that the poorest countries have suffered the most from the coronavirus, therefore these countries must be granted debt relief of the G20 for at least a year. He had said that the credit rating should not be affected by a delay in paying the debt.

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