New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the IMF can develop innovative and ingenious methods to meet COVID-19 related financing requirements given that policy space is severely constrained in most countries in these unprecedented circumstances.
She was speaking at the 2nd Extraordinary G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting, held in a virtual manner.
During her intervention, Sitharaman also shared with her G20 counterparts the efforts being made by Government of India to deal with COVID-19 crisis, including the recently announced relief package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore for the poor, the emergency health fund of Rs 15,000 crore along with several other monetary, fiscal and regulatory measures taken to address the economic and social concerns of those most impacted by the crisis.
On the issue of swap arrangements, the finance minister encouraged IMF to use its existing resources to create a non-stigmatised short-term liquidity swap facility which could be rapidly deployed as and when needed by the countries.
She also emphasised upon the need to allow flexibility for countries to engage in new lines of bilateral swap arrangements as per requirements.
G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors during the first Extraordinary Virtual G20 FMCBG Meeting held on March 23, 2020 had decided to meet virtually on a regular basis to continue discussions on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, including its impact on markets and economic conditions and take further actions to support the economy during and after this phase.
This meeting was held to follow up on discussion of the first virtual meeting as well as to discuss the follow-up in line with the statement made by G20 Leaders during the G20 Virtual Leaders Summit held on March 26, 2020.
During the summit, the Leaders had tasked G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to deliver a G20 Action Plan in Response to COVID-19, in close cooperation with relevant international organizations (IOs).
Sitharaman participated in the second meeting to discuss the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy and coordinate efforts in response to this global challenge.
She appreciated the Saudi Presidency for organizing these meetings which provide opportunity to all G20 members to not only share their individual experiences but also to work in better coordination.