The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday urged policymakers to provide flexible and targeted support until the pandemic is under control, as the need and scope for such support varies across sectors and economies.
Governments should offer more targeted support to vulnerable households, and more focused support to viable firms, Vitor Gaspar, director of the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department, and his three colleagues wrote in a blog, as the IMF released its latest Fiscal Monitor report.
"The pandemic has had a disproportionately negative effect on poor people, youth, women, minorities, and workers in low-paying jobs and the informal sector," Gaspar noted.
"Policymakers should ensure that social protection is available and spending is sustainable over the duration of the crisis by expanding the coverage of social safety nets in a cost-effective way," he said.
Governments could gradually roll back blanket loans and guarantees, and limit public support to circumstances in which there is a clear need for intervention, he said.
Gaspar noted that the pace of inoculation against COVID-19 varies widely across countries, with access unavailable to many, calling for enhanced global cooperation to provide vaccines to all countries at affordable costs.
If the pandemic is controlled via vaccination, the resulting stronger economic growth would yield more than 1 trillion dollars in additional tax revenues in advanced economies by 2025 and save more in fiscal support measures, according to the IMF.
Estimating the vaccination of one person costs about 30 dollars, Gaspar told Xinhua in an interview earlier this week that making an effort in global vaccination is probably the "highest return global public investment project" ever.
Gaspar noted that policymakers will have to strike a balance between providing fiscal support and keeping debt at a manageable level.