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July 19, 2020, 07.20 PM

RIYADH/WASHINGTON, – Finance officials from the G20 member countries reinstated their continued support to bolster the global economy as the coronavirus pandemic ravages on.

G20 finance officials have vowed to use “all available policy tools” although they also warned that the outlook remains highly uncertain.

Finance ministers and central bankers of G20 member countries convened in a virtual meeting on Saturday. They said the global economy would recover as economies gradually reopen.

However, the G20 members said more action is required to ensure the growth of the global economy.

Read also: The Covid-19 Crisis and Its Domino Effect on Indonesia

"We are determined to continue to use all available policy tools to safeguard people’s lives, jobs, and incomes, support global economic recovery, and enhance the resilience of the financial system while safeguarding against downside risks," they said in a statement after the meeting ended.

The Covid-19 virus has infected 14.14 million people globally and killed 596,576 victims, based on a Reuters tally.

The world’s largest economy, the US, ranks at the top of Covid-19 deaths.

Sweeping shutdowns aimed at halting the spread of the disease have caused massive disruption to the global economy, and are hitting the world's poorest countries hardest.

Read also: Indonesia’s Economy to Grow 0.1 Percent This Year, Says Economist

G20 finance officials said 42 of the world's 73 poorest countries had requested a freeze in official bilateral debt payments through the end of the year, amounting to about $5.3 billion in deferred payments.

Reflecting concerns raised by the World Bank that China, a G20 member and the largest creditor to developing countries, was not participating fully, the officials urged all official bilateral creditors to implement the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) fully and transparently.

They also "strongly encouraged" private creditors to participate on comparable terms, and said they would consider extending the debt standstill in the second half of 2020.

Private creditors had not received any formal requests from countries for debt service suspension under the G20 initiative, the Institute for International Finance (IIF) said on Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's meeting.

Read also: Hotel, Restaurant Industry in Indonesia Loses $4.8b Due to Covid-19 Pandemic

"We encourage the private sector investors to participate in this, but we need to be very careful not to interfere on private agreements," Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said in a press conference at the end of the meeting.

Saudi Arabia is the current G20 chair.

The officials also reaffirmed their commitment to resolving differences over how to tax digital services and reaching a broad, consensus-based solution this year.

They said they expected to see proposals on international tax reform by October when they meet again.

"Fair taxation of international companies and large digital groups is more urgent than ever," German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said after the meeting. 

(Writer: Andrea Shalal, Davide Barbuscia, Marwa Rashad, Raya Jalabi, Christian Kraemer, Tom Sims | Editor: Matthew Lewis, Frances Kerry) 


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