G20 summit starts, leaders may commit $500-bn loan fund

April 2nd, 2009 - 6:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh By Arvind Padmanabhan
London, April 2 (IANS) As G20 leaders Thursday started a summit here on how to resolve the current global financial crisis, a draft joint statement called for a $500-billion extra funds for the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

This was the precise demand made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a reception hosted by his British counterpart Gordon Brown Wednesday.

“We must declare our resolve to increase the resources available with the IMF substantially, buy around $500 billion over the next two years,” Manmohan Singh had said at the reception.

According to a member of the Indian delegation, US President Barak Obama walked up to Manmohan Singh at the reception and had his first exchange of views with him since he assumed office this January.

“President Obama walked up to the prime minister and spoke to him for almost 10 minutes,” a senior official said, adding that the stage was thus set for the bilateral meeting later in the evening.

Diplomatic sources said several world leaders were particularly keen to listen to the Indian prime minister, the Oxford-educated economist who had fashioned the country’s economic reforms in the early 1990s as finance minister.

“Over the last five years, our PM has emerged as a highly respected leader at international gatherings,” a diplomat said, maintaining that Manmohan Singh’s views were considered seriously by the G20 leaders as well.

At Brown’s reception, the prime minister said the rise of protectionist sentiment in the industrialised world was an issue of vital concern to developing countries.

“This phenomenon is not surprising, given the downturn in economic activity and the rise of unemployment. However, it will be a test of leadership whether we persuade the public that we must not repeat past mistakes,” he had added.

The Indian prime minister made several suggestions, some of these being:

* Increasing the capital of Asian Development Bank by 20 percent

* Concrete steps to revive trade finance, and expansion of lending by export credit agencies

* Stronger regulation and improved supervision of global financial system

* Bring tax havens and non-cooperating jurisdictions under closer scrutiny.

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