Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said Nigeria’s economy is being threatened by the twin shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated sharp fall in international oil prices. She made this known in the statement in the Press Release No. 20/137 on April 7, 2020.
She revealed that to support these efforts, Nigeria’s government has requested financial assistance under the Fund’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI). This emergency financing would allow the government to address additional and urgent balance of payments needs and support policies that would make it possible to direct funds for priority health expenditures and protect the most vulnerable people and firms.
“President Buhari’s administration is taking a number of measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus and its impact, including by swiftly releasing contingency funds to Nigeria’s Center for Disease Control and working on an economic stimulus package that will help provide relief for households and businesses impacted by the downturn”, Ms. Kristalina said.
Nigeria’s finance minister, Zainab Ahmed, on Monday said the federal government had requested a total of $6.9 billion from the IMF and other multilateral lenders. It is also seeking the suspension of debt-servicing obligations for 2020 and 2021 from multilateral lenders.
The IMF has received requests for emergency financing help from over 90 countries, including many in Africa.
The IMF has said it has about $50 billion available from its emergency financing facilities to help countries cope with the crisis, and hopes to double the amount in coming weeks.
Ms. Kristalina hinted that the body is working hard to respond to this request so that a proposal can be considered by the IMF’s Executive Board as soon as possible.
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday said it was considering Nigeria’s request for $3.4 billion in emergency financing to combat the impact of the new coronavirus pandemic on Africa’s biggest economy.
The World Bank has approved initial disbursements of $1.9 billion as part of a $14 billion emergency response package.