Indonesia and the United Kingdom (UK) agreed to completes the Joint Trade Review (JTR) in December of this year, to improve the economic relations between the two countries, an official said today - Photo by Prime Minister Office

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The United Kingdom (UK) launched a stimulus package worth of GBP30 billion (US$38.46 billion) to ward off the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The country also support the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Catastrophe and Containment Relief Trust by contribute GBP150 million.

The British finance minister, Rishi Sunak, also delayed payment of interest for many companies, extended paid sick leave and increased funding for national health services (NHS). In his budget addressed to the parliament on Wednesday (03/11), he warned of a significant but temporary shock from this outbreak.

Of the 30 billion pounds in additional expenditure, he explained, GBP12 billion will be specifically targeted for the coronavirus measures, including at least 5 billion pounds for the NHS and GBP7 billion pounds sterling for businesses and workers throughout the UK.

In addition, said Sunak, the government will cover operational costs for businesses with less than 250 employees, who provide mandatory salaries for those who do not work because of the plague. The government plans to accelerate and facilitate the distribution of benefits to workers without contracts.

While, IMF’ managing director, Kristalina Georgieva welcomed the announcement and would conduct a review of the UK’ fiscal framework. This contribution, she adds, represents a most welcome response to provide the necessary support to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus crisis, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

“I welcome the economic and fiscal measures announced in the UK government’ budget statement to address the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic. The coordinated monetary and fiscal policy measures will help to alleviate the health challenges and support households and businesses to bridge through the economic challenges facing the country,” said the IMF’ leader in a written statement.

On March 5, the Fund, prepared $50 billion to help address the impact of coronavirus. The other two Funds, World Bank Group has pledged $12 billion and Asian Development Bank adds $2 billion to help the developing countries tackle the epidemic.

Georgieva at joint presser with World Bank Group president David Malpass announced the funds will distributes through its rapid-disbursing emergency financing facilities for low income and emerging market countries that could potentially seek support.

Of this, $10 billion is available at zero interest for the poorest members through the Rapid Credit Facility.

“We know that the disease is spreading quickly. With over one-third of our membership affected directly, this is no longer a regional issue – it is a global problem calling for a global response. We also know that it will eventually retreat, but we don’t know how fast this will happen,” said the Fund’ leaders.

They also noted, under any scenario, global growth in 2020 will drop below last year’s level. How far it will fall, and for how long, is difficult to predict, and would depend on the epidemic, but also on the timeliness and effectiveness of our actions, they adds.

The Banks said, this new fast track package will help developing countries strengthen health systems, including better access to health services to protect people from epidemics, strengthen disease surveillance, improve public health interventions, and work with the private sector to reduce the impact on the economy.

“The IMF and the World Bank Group stand ready to help our member countries address the human tragedy and economic challenge posed by the COVID-19. We are engaged actively with international institutions and country authorities, with special attention to poor countries where health systems are the weakest and people are most vulnerable,” said managing director of IMF, Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank’ president, David Malpass in a joint statement.

They continued, both parties will use available instruments to the fullest extent possible, including emergency financing, policy advice, and technical assistance.

It said, “International cooperation is essential to deal with the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 virus. The IMF and the World Bank Group are fully committed to provide the support that people in our member countries expect from us.”

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