Pak PM calls for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccine and debt relief for poor countries

PTI
Islamabad, Pakistan Published: Jan 25, 2021, 08:39 PM(IST)

Imran Khan Photograph:( PTI )

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Imran Khan also called for the general allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) of USD 500 billion to help alleviate the balance of payment pressures.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday called for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccine and debt relief for poor countries to offset the impact of the pandemic.
Addressing the fourth session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, Khan called for an affordable supply of coronavirus vaccines to developing countries and for expanding Covax - WHO's global shared vaccine program, according to his office.

"COVID-19 vaccines are now being administered in developed countries but it seems like it will take much longer for the vaccines to fully cover the Global South. Sustainable development will remain elusive as long as the pandemic persists," he said.

Suggesting a five-point agenda to tackle the pandemic and debt burden, he urged for "creating a viable framework for equitable and affordable supply of COVID vaccines to developing countries."

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Noting that the developing countries were "trapped between recovering from the pandemic and meeting their debt servicing obligations", Khan urged for "additional debt relief by suspending debt repayments for the most stressed countries until the end of the pandemic."

He also called for the general allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) of USD 500 billion to help alleviate the balance of payment pressures.

An SDR is an International Monetary Fund unit for a financial transaction, which includes a mixed basket of currencies.

Khan also stressed on the world community to take measures for the return of stolen assets held by corrupt politicians and criminals.

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"Reportedly, a staggering amount of USD 7 trillion is parked in (tax haven) destinations and it is also reported that USD 1 trillion annually leaves the developing countries for these (havens)," he said.

Khan also said the developed countries should meet the agreed target of mobilising USD 100 billion annually for climate action in developing countries.

He said Pakistan made an effort at ensuring that "we save people from dying from the virus, and at the same time preventing them from dying from hunger" and the strategy has worked well so far but continuous efforts are needed to fully overcome the second wave of the virus.

"The world today is grappling with a series of interlinked and unprecedented public health and economic crises. While the coronavirus does not discriminate between the rich and the poor, the most vulnerable people and countries have suffered the most," he said.

He warned that millions of people were likely to fall below the poverty line as a result.

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