IMF excludes Nigeria from debt relief

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The International Monetary Fund on Monday shut the door of debt relief against Nigeria, despite appeals from the World Health Organisation for consideration for poor country.

Nigeria is currently seeking a special loan facility from the Bretton Woods institution to shore up dwindling public revenue.

Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the IMF, made this known in a statement issued on Monday.

“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,” the statement said.

“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 IMF said that CCRT can currently provide about US$500 million in grant-based debt service relief, including the recent $185 million pledge by the U.K. and $100 million provided by Japan as immediately available resources.

Others, it said, including China and the Netherlands, are also stepping forward with important contributions.

Ms Giorgieva urged other donors to help the IMF replenish the Trust’s resources and boost further its ability to provide additional debt service relief for a full two years to its poorest member countries.

The countries that will receive debt service relief, according to the agency, are Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, D.R., The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali and Mozambique.

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Others according to the agency are Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo, and Yemen.