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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

IMF to recommend $3.4bn emergency funding for Nigeria

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The staff of the International Monetary Fund will recommend the approval of $3.4 billion in emergency funding to Nigeria when the lender’s executive board meets next week, according to two people with direct knowledge of the plan.

The loan, scheduled to be repaid in a maximum of five years, would be the largest allocation yet by the IMF to an African country to assist with the coronavirus pandemic. The lender approved a disbursement of about $1 billion to Ghana earlier this month. The outbreak is reducing demand for and prices of Africa’s commodities, while domestic lockdowns have shuttered industries and trade.

Nigeria’s request for $3.4 billion will be considered on April 28, an IMF spokesperson said. A finance ministry spokesman declined to comment.

Hit by crashing oil prices and lockdowns, Nigeria requested the amount under the Rapid Financing Instrument, which offers funding without the strings of a full program, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is not yet public. Nigeria also requested another $3.5 billion in total from the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

The oil producer’s economy could shrink the most in almost half a century this year after the collapse of the price of crude, which makes up more than haft of government revenues and 90% of exports.

The IMF will mobilize more than $18 billion to respond to more than 40 African countries who have requested assistance to battle the pandemic, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said last week.

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