The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday promised to promptly work on Nigeria’s request for financial assistance.
Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, had, during a press briefing on Monday, announced that the country had requested for financial assistance from the IMF, World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and others to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and stimulate the economy.
IMF, in a statement signed by its Managing Director, Ms Kristalina Georgieva, said “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. We are 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 Bretton Woods institution, which had in February downgraded Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate forecast of 2.5 per cent to 2.0 per cent because of the huge economic challenges and vulnerabilities that lay ahead, said Nigeria’s economy was being threatened by the twin shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated sharp fall in international oil prices.
It, however, noted that “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 Centre for Disease Control and working on an economic stimulus package that will help provide relief for households and businesses impacted by the downturn.”
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