The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Monday, approved immediate debt service relief for 25 member countries under the Fund’s revamped Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT).
The beneficiaries are: Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, D.R., The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo, and Yemen.
Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the Fund in a statement said deal was part of the Fund’s response to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This provides grants to our poorest and most vulnerable members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial phase over the next six months and will help them channel more of their scarce financial resources towards vital emergency medical and other relief efforts.
“The CCRT can currently provide about US$500 million in grant-based debt service relief, including the recent US$185 million pledge by the U.K. and US$100 million provided by Japan as immediately available resources.
“Others, including China and the Netherlands, are also stepping forward with important contributions. I urge other donors to help us replenish the Trust’s resources and boost further our ability to provide additional debt service relief for a full two years to our poorest member countries,” she said.
Reports said that Nigeria, among other members of the African Union, had asked for debt relief from some international lenders as the continent battles the coronavirus pandemic.
Nigeria had also specifically indicated that she could apply for between 50 and 100 percent of her $3.4 billion contribution with the IMF as non-negotiable, unconditional loan a $3.bn loan to fund palliatives and support government spending as the coronavirus threatens revenue and foreign exchange.