IMF approves $3.4 billion for Nigeria to address coronavirus

Agence France-Presse
IMF approves $3.4 billion for Nigeria to address coronavirus
The International Monetary Fund notes that the coronavirus pandemic and the plunging global demand for oil are severely affecting Nigeria's economy

WASHINGTON, USA – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) board on Tuesday, April 28, approved $3.4 billion in emergency financing for Nigeria to help deal with the economic damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The loan aims “to support the authorities’ efforts in addressing the severe economic impact of the COVID-19 shock and the sharp fall in oil prices,” the IMF said in a statement.

The funds come from the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument, which has been ramped up to get aid quickly to developing nations most vulnerable to the economic effects of shutdowns to contain the outbreak.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the fund has received over 100 requests for aid from its members, and developing countries will need about $2.5 trillion to deal with the impacts of the pandemic.

Africa’s most populous country has been hit by both the virus’ arrival in its borders and plunging global demand for oil, Nigeria’s top export.

A price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia exacerbated the fall in crude prices, and a deal earlier this month between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other top oil producers hasn’t yet undone the damage.

“The COVID-19 outbreak – magnified by the sharp fall in international oil prices and reduced global demand for oil products – is severely impacting economic activity in Nigeria,” IMF Deputy Managing Director Mitsuhiro Furusawa said.

“These shocks have created large external and financing needs for 2020.”

He praised the Nigerian government’s efforts to respond to the crisis, through higher health spending and support for households and businesses. – Rappler.com