The decision came to offset the negative impact of a global pandemic on an already struggling economy
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. PHOTO: EXPRESS
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has decided to launch a diplomatic initiative, seeking to reschedule bilateral and multilateral loans to offset the negative impact of the corona virus pandemic on its economy, officials said on Monday after a high-level huddle was held at the Foreign Office in Islamabad.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi chaired the meeting attended by Prime Minister of Finance Adviser Dr. Abdul Hafiz Shaikh, Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiative Asad Umar and Foreign Minister Sohail Mahmood. Pakistan’s Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in New York and Geneva also joined the session via video link.
The meeting discussed the negative implications of COVID-19 on the economy. FM Qureshi noted that because of the pandemic, Pakistan’s exports had declined on one side and economic activity in the country had stalled because it was locked on the other side.
The national count of patients with highly infectious diseases has surged past 3,500 with at least 50 deaths.
This, according to the foreign minister, made it difficult for developing countries like Pakistan to carry out their business as usual.
“For this reason Prime Minister Imran Khan came up with the idea of rescheduling the loans of developing and poor countries,” Qyresgu was quoted as saying in a FO statement.
He explained the meeting about the steps taken by the State Department to ensure that developed countries and multilateral organizations pay attention to these ideas.
Qureshi spoke with foreign ministers from rich countries over the past few weeks to seek their support for loan restructuring.
It was decided at the meeting that joint efforts would be made to convince powerful countries for this initiative.
To this end, Pakistan’s permanent representation to the United Nations in New York and Geneva has been directed to launch diplomatic efforts while the foreign minister will continue to reach out to his colleagues in the world capital.
The coronavirus outbreak began to have an impact on the Pakistani economy, which struggled even before the pandemic.
The government’s own assessment shows that the country’s economy could suffer losses between Rs2 to Rs2.5 trillion and lose 18.5 million jobs if the lockup lasts for three months.
Independent economists put losses on the economy between Rs890 billion to Rs1,6 trillion.