UN chief asks for massive stimulus package in response to coronavirus

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 25, 2020
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has asked leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) to help launch a stimulus package in the trillions of dollars to keep businesses, workers and households afloat in face of the coronavirus.

By the end of this year, the cost of this pandemic is likely to be measured in the trillions of dollars, Guterres told G20 leaders in a letter dated March 23.

The response of G20 leaders must be decisive and commensurate. It must inject massive resources into economies, reaching double-digit percentage points in the world's gross domestic product, he said in the letter, which was released on Tuesday.

Guterres warned that "business-as-usual" economic rules and policy tools no longer apply as the virus has created unprecedented challenges.

Unlike in 2008, this is not a banking crisis. While the liquidity of the financial system must be guaranteed, there is a need to focus on people: families, low-wage workers, small and medium-sized enterprises and the informal sector, said Guterres.

Important steps have already been taken by developed countries in this direction, but more needs to be done, he said. "I urge G20 leaders to consider the urgent launch of a large-scale, coordinated stimulus package in the trillions of dollars to target the direct provision of resources to businesses, workers and households in those countries unable to do so alone."

Such a package would include scaling up cash transfer measures, social protection, tax abatement, fiscal stimulus, low interest rates, access to credit, insurance and wage support schemes, said Guterres.

The secretary-general wrote to all G20 leaders ahead of their virtual G20 summit scheduled for Thursday. Guterres would participate in the virtual summit. 

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