The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approve $500 million in grant-based debt service relief to 25 of IMF’s member countries, with Nigeria’s name conspicuously missing from the list of countries.
The 25 beneficiaries include 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.
According to the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, the debt relief is part of the IMF’s revamped Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
“Today, I am pleased to say that our executive board approved immediate debt service relief to 25 of the IMF’s member countries under the IMF’s revamped Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) as part of the Fund’s response to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IMF’s Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva.
According to Georgieva, the grant was provided to the poorest and most vulnerable members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial phase over the next six months. She noted that the fund would help them channel more of their scarce financial resources towards vital emergency medical and other relief efforts.
Countries granted immediate debt service relief over an initial 6-month period on their IMF obligations can now channel more financial resources towards vital #COVID19 emergency medical and other relief efforts.
She went on to urge donors to help the Fund replenish the Trust’s resources and boost its ability to provide additional debt service relief for full two years to IMF’s poorest member countries.
Recall that the IMF had disclosed the United Kingdom’s recent pledge of US$185 million as well as the US$100 million provided by Japan as part of the CCRT.
Nigeria’s exclusion from the list has become a topic of discussion in the media space, as many are already worried about the country’s debt portfolio and the unwillingness of international organisation to provide relief at this time of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile investigation has revealed that Nigeria was never part of the countries indebted to IMF. Contrary to the news going viral, Nigeria’s exclusion from the list should have never been debated as the West African country is not owing the Fund.
The debt relief will help countries move towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals, which aim at halving poverty by 2015. Debt in developing countries is singled out as a principal cause of poverty, causing human suffering and misery as well as hampering economic development.