Alice Wells on Pakistan’s debt
The outgoing US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells has expressed concern over the debt unsustainability issue of Pakistan, particularly referring to the expensive Chinese bilateral loans. Addressing a farewell media briefing, the top diplomat urged China either to waive off or renegotiate the terms and conditions of $62 billion CPEC related bilateral loans that carry high rate of interest as these loans would turn out unsustainable.
Ambassador Alice Wells said, “At the time of crisis like Covid-19, it is really incumbent on China to take steps to alleviate the burden that this predatory, unsustainable and unfair lending is to cause. She expressed the hope that China will join hands with other countries in debt relief measures. It will either waive off debt or renegotiate these loans to create fair and transparent deal for the people of Pakistan.
The issue of debt waiver to Pakistan and other developing countries has been highlighted by the Prime Minister Imran Khan time and again. In his address to World Economic Forum, via video link, on Wednesday he urged G-20 countries for liberal debt relief. He mentioned the worsening macroeconomic indicators of Pakistan’s economy such as mounting fiscal deficit, falling exports and massive decline in home remittances. The transparency issues of agreements made by the previous government under the umbrella of CPEC had also been touched upon by multilateral lending agencies.