G20 Summit discusses access to COVID-19 vaccine, debt relaxation

G20 Summit discusses access to COVID-19 vaccine, debt relaxation
Indonesian President Joko Widodo attended the G20 Summit which was held virtually in Riyadh on Saturday night (November 21, 2020). (RI's Cabinet Secretariat)

Bogor, W Java (Indonesia Window) – The G20 Summit which was held virtually in Riyadh on Saturday night (Nov 21) discussed the Finance track and the Sherpa track, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said.

The finance track focused on efforts to recover the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including financing for COVID-19 and relaxation of debt payments for low-income countries.

“On this first day of the summit, the focus was on economic recovery and global economic conditions in which all state leaders conveyed their support in terms of policies to jointly restore the economy due to the extraordinary impacts of COVID-19,” she said.

“Supports for economic and financial policies, especially in the fiscal, monetary and regulatory sectors, should be continued,” Sri Mulyani said.

According to her, although in the third quarter most of G20 members had shown economic reversals, the conditions were still very fragile.

“In the discussion on the finance track, it is emphasized that policies to support economic recovery should be carried out and should not be withdrawn too early. It means that regulations on fiscal, monetary, and financial sector must continue to be implemented until the economy truly recovers,” she said.

The minister continued, the finance track also focused on the financing for the COVID-19 vaccine which consumes very large resources. How countries, especially developing countries, can get access to vaccines is one of the important issues in the discussion.

“At this point the role of multilateral institutions becomes very important. Access to vaccines is important because there would be no global economic recovery until all countries have access to vaccines,” Sri Mulyani stressed.

The G20 Summit also discussed the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), which is an initiative to provide relaxation facilities for the payment of debts for poor countries.

“In the discussion supported by multilateral institutions, among others the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank, the leaders agreed to provide relaxation for debt repayments until the end of this year, then it is extended until mid-2021,” the minister noted.

The initiative targets low-income countries with an aim to provide them with fiscal space to deal with COVID-19.

The G20 leaders agreed to postpone debt payments for 46 of the 77 countries that are eligible to the DSSI’s criteria.

“It is important to support poor countries so as to make them more resilient in  dealing with COVID-19. In addition, debt treatment can be equated between countries that have joined the Paris Club and those outside the Paris Club,” Sri Mulyani said.

Reporting by Indonesia Window

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