G20 Meet: FM Nirmala Sitharaman calls for collective efforts to tackle damaging impact of Covid-19 pandemic

G20 Meet: FM Nirmala Sitharaman calls for collective efforts to tackle damaging impact of Covid-19 pandemic

The DSSI provides time-bound suspension of debt service payments for the low-income debtor countries that seek forbearance.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday highlighted the need for continued collective and coordinated efforts by G20 members to counter the damaging impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Attending a virtual meeting of finance ministers of the G20 nations to discuss global economic outlook and the group’s responses to the Covid-19 crisis, Sitharaman stressed affordability and accessibility of vaccines for all as a crucial step in this direction.

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The minister also highlighted the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) as an important step. The DSSI provides time-bound suspension of debt service payments for the low-income debtor countries that seek forbearance.

The DSSI initiative was initially in force until the end of 2020. However, in light of the continued liquidity pressures, the G20 had agreed to extend the DSSI by 6 months, and to examine in 2021 if the economic and financial situation requires a further extension of the DSSI.

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In the October meeting, talking about the ways to address the debt vulnerabilities of low-income countries, Sitharaman had also observed that in a longer term, a more structural treatment of debt is required. This process should primarily be guided by the objective of helping such countries overcome the Covid-induced fiscal stress.

She had underlined that it would be important to take into consideration the circumstances and concerns of both creditors and debtors. In the process of debt restructuring, care must be taken to not saddle the debtor countries with overly burdensome conditionalities, she had said.

 

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