Global sovereign debt roundtable to be launched in Bengaluru on sidelines of G20 finance track meeting

The meeting would focus on the digitisation program, which is a top priority for India during its G20 presidency, an IMF official said

February 15, 2023 12:06 pm | Updated 12:06 pm IST - Washington

The headquarters of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, U.S.

The headquarters of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, U.S. | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable is all set to be launched in Bengaluru later this month on the sidelines of the G-20 finance track, will bring in key stakeholders to discuss issues that have been impeding a timely debt restructuring process, a top official of the International Monetary Fund said here.

The Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable on February 25 will be co-chaired by the IMF, the World Bank and India, which is president of G-20 countries this year.

This will be preceded by a virtual meeting on February 17.

"It is basically to discuss issues that have been impeding reaching a timely debt restructuring process, and the lessons from the cases that we had in the recent past and come up with technical solutions to address these shortcomings," Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, Director of the Strategy and Policy Review department at the IMF, told a group of reporters here on Tuesday.

According to her, it is mainly about processes, about standards, about definitions of key issues, that will be part of the discussion.

"It's definitely not a country specific discussion, it's not a forum to reach any details on debt restructuring. It's more rather, on what are the impediments, how do we identify those and what can be done to address them," she said.

Also Read | Inclusive, resilient growth focus of India’s G20 priorities

There are mechanisms which deal with individual cases like the Paris Club and common framework to include other creditors and other more informal coordination mechanisms for countries that are outside of the G-20 common framework, she said.

"So the idea here is not to replace any of these countries' specific forum, but rather complement them by clarifying some of the issues that could help the individual cases going forward," Ms. Pazarbasioglu said.

The G-20 meeting of Finance Ministers and central bank Governors, among other issues, would focus on the digitisation program, which is a top priority for India during its G-20 presidency, the IMF official said.

"India actually is a leader in terms of making progress on digitalisation. The India stack framework where you have different parts of the administration work together both in terms of a much more transparent and accountable way," Ms. Pazarbasioglu said in response to a question.

The agenda of G-20 finance track, she said focuses on digital finance, inclusive finance, as well as issues like what they faced during the pandemic, how does one make sure that they can get the social safety net in a targeted way to those that really need it.

"Using the systems that they have put in place, India has actually been very successful. So lessons that India has learned through its efforts and sharing these with others as well as making progress in the fiscal policy, both taxation, safety nets, as well as on the financial sector in inclusive finance, from remittances all the way to providing support to vulnerable families.

"These are all parts of the priorities that the country has and shared with much of the G-20,” she said.

In terms of IMF specific issues, the fund will continue to support the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust allowing concessional financing to vulnerable countries.

"We need about $16.9 billion dollars in terms of loan resources, and about $3.1 billion in terms of subsidy resources. This is to support zero interest lending to countries that require concessional finance," she said, adding that resilience and sustainability is a priority for the IMF.

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