Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, has apprised that all bilateral & multilateral external debts of Pakistan need immediate restructuring on soft terms as the total economic cost of unprecedented floods in Pakistan has surpassed $30 billion. He reiterated his stance that despite having a population of 220 million and contribution of less than 1 percent in global carbon emissions, Pakistan has paid the highest price for the global warming.
Now, it is the utmost responsibility of international community to swing into action and join the relief efforts without any further ado. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh highlighted that around 2.8 million people out of total 33 million flood-affectees and internally displaced people (IDPs) are seriously ill due to various pandemics that have broken out – including, dengue, malaria, cholera, typhoid, serious skin infections and other water-borne & contagious diseases.
The world as a whole will be responsible as Pakistan is facing the brunt of the global misdeeds vis-à-vis climate change; if they do not listen to the cries of the dying, he added. FPCCI Chief has proposed that the government should negotiate the restructuring of external debts with IMF, World Bank, ADB, IDB, Paris Club and friendly countries to create fiscal space for flood relief & rebuilding activities.
He also extended his advisory services from the platform of FPCCI in formulating the strategies to successfully negotiate with various lenders. Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh has called for adopting austerity measures at every governmental level and redirecting all non-developmental budgets to the relief & rehabilitation – be it provincial & federal.
He also expressed his optimism that the world would be ready to provide aid and debt relief, provided we devise a robust, diligent and pragmatic plan for the relief & rehabilitation; and, ensure efficient, fair& transparent disbursement of relief resources. We must send out the right optics to the world, he added.