228 views | Akanimo Sampson | April 29, 2020
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is supporting Nigeria’s COVID-19 fight with the sum of $3.4 billion.
This is coming as Nigeria on Tuesday recorded 195 new coronavirus positive cases in the country, with Lagos and Kano states having the highest numbers.
While Lagos recorded 80 new cases, Kano had 38, Ogun and Bauchi states recorded a tally of 15 new cases each.
While Borno State has 11 new cases, the spread of the virus intensified in Gombe with 10 new cases and in Sokoto State with nine cases.
Edo and Jigawa states recorded five new cases each, two new cases confirmed in Zamfara State just as Rivers, Enugu, Delta, Nasarawa states and Abuja recorded one case each
As at 11:50pm on April 28, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said 1532 confirmed positive cases of COVID19 was reported in the country.
Nigeria’s coronavirus death has also increased to 44 while 255 persons have also recovered from the virus.
However, the emergency IMF financial assistance to Nigeria is the highest so far to any member country.
According to IMF, the assistance, facilitated via the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), will help limit the decline in Nigeria’s international reserves.
It will equally help to provide financing for the country’s budget, which has been severely affected by falling oil prices triggered by the pandemic and price wars.
IMF notes that short-term focus should be on higher health spending and palliative for households and businesses, pointing out that Nigeria should take steps to unify its exchange rate as quickly as possible.
IMF Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, Mitsuhiro Furusawa, says after the COVID-19 crisis passes, Nigeria’s focus should remain ‘’on medium-term macroeconomic stability, with revenue-based fiscal consolidation essential to keep Nigeria’s debt sustainable and create fiscal space for priority spending.”
IMF on April 13 had announced immediate debt relief for 25 poor countries – most in Africa, but also in the Middle-East – to help them free up funds to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The news was greeted with dismay by some Nigerians. President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, said: “We call for the inclusion of Nigeria in the beneficiary list for the COVID-19 related debt relief and debt moratorium based on very cogent reasons.”
The Ministry of Finance has been vociferous that Nigeria could not be granted debt relief since it is not indebted to IMF and has no outstanding debt obligation to be forgiven.
Nigeria had applied for new financing at IMF to enable it to tackle the effects of the pandemic on the economy.