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Flood-hit Pakistan should suspend debt repayments, says UN paper – FT

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Pakistan should suspend international debt repayments and restructure loans with creditors after recent floods added to the country’s financial crisis, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing a UN policy memo.

The memorandum, which the UN Development Programme will share with Pakistan’s government this week, states that the country’s creditors should consider debt relief so that policymakers can prioritize financing its disaster response over loan repayment, the newspaper said.

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The country’s foreign office in Islamabad did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on the memorandum. Pakistan’s finance minister and information minister could not be immediately reached for comment.

Pakistan has earlier estimated the damage at $30 billion, and both the government and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have blamed the flooding on climate change.

The memo further proposed debt restructuring or swaps, where creditors would let go of repayments in exchange for Pakistan agreeing to invest in climate change-resilient infrastructure, FT said.

Floods have affected 33 million Pakistanis, inflicted billions of dollars in damage, and killed over 1,500 people – creating concern that Pakistan will not meet debts. (Reporting by Jyoti Narayan in Bengaluru and Asif Shahzad in Islamabad; Writing by Gibran Peshimam; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Sam Holmes)

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