Rishi Sunak, Nirmala Sitharaman lead G20 plan to tackle Covid-19 pandemic
Details of the economic action plan for a coordinated fiscal, monetary and regulatory response to the pandemic were discussed at a virtual meeting on Wednesday evening.Updated: Apr 16, 2020, 23:03 IST
Finance ministers of G20 countries and central bank governors agreed an action plan devised by chancellor Rishi Sunak and India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman that includes suspending debt payments of poorest countries, officials said here on Thursday.
Details of the economic action plan for a coordinated fiscal, monetary and regulatory response to the pandemic were discussed at a virtual meeting on Wednesday evening.
“Led by the UK and India, Finance Ministers agreed decisive action was needed to reduce the global economic damage of the virus, setting out an action plan that includes a call for the swift implementation of a $200 billion package of global support from the World Bank Group and Regional Development Banks”, the Treasury department said.
The money is to be invested in health programmes, emergency fiscal support to the poorest countries and a number of other global initiatives. It was also agreed to suspend debt payments from the world’s poorest countries - freeing up £12 billion to tackle the virus.
“The Chancellor, who led development of the action plan with his Indian counterpart, also called on more G20 Finance Ministers to fund the development of vaccines, with the UK already contributing £250 million for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations – a global organisation that conducts research to develop vaccines against infectious diseases”, the Treasury added.
The meeting also agreed an enhanced IMF support package, more joined-up efforts by international organisations fighting the pandemic, and to share best practice on containment measures, officials added.
Sunak said: “The UK is at the forefront of international action in the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak…It’s right that we have suspended debt payments for the world’s poorest countries and are supporting the most vulnerable health systems in the world, which in turn makes us all safer”.
In total, the UK has so far contributed £744 million in aid to the fight against coronavirus to help slow down the spread of the disease around the world and help manage the global economic damage.