By Benjamin Jumbe
Eligible countries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can now better manage debt relief from international lenders, using the Commonwealth Secretariat’s specialised software.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund had called for the suspension of loan repayments owed by the poorest countries of the world, to help them manage the severe impact of the pandemic.
In response, G20 members agreed to suspend debt servicing temporarily for 77 eligible countries, including 30 from the Commonwealth.
To help these countries take advantage of the moratorium, the Commonwealth Secretariat has issued guidelines on how to use its state-of-the-art debt management system, not only to maximize the benefits of the debt relief, but also generate manageable payment schedules.
Pamella McLaren, the Adviser and Head of the Secretariat’s Debt Management Unit, explains that the Commonwealth Meridian is a web-based tool that is already being used by a number of member countries to proactively manage their debt.
“The new guidelines will make it easier for eligible countries to navigate the debt relief instruments being offered by the G20 and multilateral bodies in response to COVID-19, understand the different options for restructuring debt, and apply debt relief measures in a way that ensures long-term debt sustainability.”
Launched last year, Commonwealth Meridian is currently in use by central banks and government agencies across the Commonwealth to monitor transactions and conduct in-depth debt analysis for informed decisions.