By Dipo Olowookere
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday said it has received a request for financial assistance from Nigeria.
On Monday, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had said at a news conference in Abuja that federal government was looking to source for $6.9 billion from the IMF, World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
She had said while the sum of $3.4 billion would be borrowed from the IMF, $2.5 billion will come from the World Bank and $1 billion from AfDB.
In a statement obtained by Business Post from the IMF on Tuesday, its Managing Director, Ms Kristalina Georgieva, stated that Nigeria requested the financial help under the Fund’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI).
She explained that 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 IMF chief said.
Ms Georgieva noted that, “Nigeria’s economy is being threatened by the twin shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated sharp fall in international oil prices.
According to her, 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 (NCDC) and working on an economic stimulus package that will help provide relief for households and businesses impacted by the downturn.
Mr Buhari released the sum of N5 billion to the agency and N10 billion to the Lagos State government to fight the pandemic.
On Monday, the Finance Minister confirmed that the President approved the withdrawal of $150 million from the sovereign Wealth Fund to be shared to states of the federation to assist them with running their states.
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