COVID-19 IMPACT ON SOCIO-ECONOMIC EXTRAORDINARY – MAJORO
Maseru, April.13—Prime Minister Dr. Moeketsi Majoro says the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on countries’ socio-economic balance sheets is of an unprecedented magnitude.
This he said when delivering his speech at the Special Segment of 2021 Forum on Financing for Development held by the United Nations (UN) in New York.
He said the pandemic has slowed down economic growth, depleted personal savings, disrupted daily livelihood pursuits, raised national debt levels and increased costs of health care amongst others. He added that at the global level it has reversed the gains made on sustainable development goals.
‘It is now incumbent on global political and business leadership to re-invest in sustainable and inclusive recovery strategies to accelerate progress towards the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda, which is now only a short nine years away’, he emphasised.
He noted that the discovery of COVID-19 vaccines has given hope across the globe that the coronavirus can be defeated, and that normalcy can be restored to their economies saying however, many fear that inequities would undermine accessibility to vaccines, hence the establishment of the COVAX initiative, have now come to pass.
Dr. Majoro stated that several wealthy countries and regions have rushed to secure vaccines for themselves, while a more equitable distribution based on the principle of inclusivity would have contributed more to an expedited recovery in the world economy. He said in a world of scarcity, a
globally determined distribution strategy would have served them better adding efforts must still be made to reach all populations everywhere at the earliest.
He indicated that the world needs a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient recovery from the downturn caused by the virus and other global shocks adding that the COVAX initiative which aims to secure a wider and fairer distribution of vaccines across the globe requires their full support.
‘As the impacts of COVID-19 have piled up on top of the effects of climate change as well as inadequate infrastructure, it is critically important
that the donor community further increases its level of official development assistance until when poverty has been eliminated’, he stressed.
Additionally the Prime Minister highlighted that the debt relief process remains an unfinished business saying not only are there still a few
countries from the previous round including Zimbabwe and Sudan that must still be considered for debt relief, many of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) that received relief earlier have relapsed due to the unavoidable need to provide infrastructure amid lack of additional resources for that purpose.
He delineated that the bout of current elevated indebtedness amongst Low Income Countries (LICs) is a direct result of borrowing for providing infrastructure and fighting COVID-19, coupled with lack of debt-free resources.
Dr. Major further indicated that Lesotho would therefore like to encourage all international creditors; both commercial and private, to take bolder action to suspend debt repayments, apply debt cancellation and moratoria and provide additional resources for supporting economic growth.
He added that Lesotho calls for more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to support trade capacity, employment, and growth. The pandemic-driven sluggishness of demand as well as supply-side disruptions, due to lockdowns and cross-border restrictions, have trashed industry everywhere therefore as economies reopen and demand picks up in the productive sectors, investments in a diverse array of ventures are desperately needed.
Meanwhile Lesotho is currently on vaccine roll out which started on March 10 after receiving 36,000 doses from COVAX Facility.
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