The government is right that the $1.7 billion secured in debt relief has come at just the right time and it will go a long way in saving the “lives and livelihoods of millions.” The second wave of the coronavirus is already taking a very heavy toll and it’s only a matter of time before the economy goes into deep shock. The government has tried to provide relief to selected industries to stimulate production and ramp up exports, but all that will only go so far when buyer markets are in lockdown. Very soon we will have to look inward once again and all attention will go towards surviving till the storm rides itself out. The government did a fine job of stitching together a relief package after the first wave. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) also played a very important role and provided banks with liquidity that was needed to keep businesses solvent. And it helped to no end that Pakistan was able to contain the spread of the virus far more successfully than most other countries at the time. But all that has changed now and the virus is spreading at a very quick pace; hence the sudden bulge in the number of infections as well as deaths. That is why governments like Pakistan need all the help that they can get. $1.7 billion might seem like a paltry sum considering our rather huge debt burden, but the temporary moratorium will give the finance ministry precious elbow room and will definitely impact the fate of millions. Rich nations, especially G20 countries and the Paris Club, have come through at a very critical time for the third world. They might now have to go a step further and consider writing off some of the debt altogether. Prime Minister Imran Khan has been making such demands ever since he came to office. The post-Covid world, whenever it comes, will be very different from the one that plunged into it about a year ago. Many poor countries will struggle to survive in the face of disturbing increases in their poverty rates as well as a very large number of deaths just around the poverty line. Capturing new export markets will also require starting from scratch in some cases. Many countries will need a lot more aid just to get their act together. That becomes somewhat difficult when you also have to pay back mountains of old debt. The debt relief that has been agreed, although temporary in nature, sets a very important precedent. There is an urgent need to follow it through with more comprehensive agreements.