Twenty-eight member low-income countries have received a six-month extension of debt service relief from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Countries in this category are Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, the Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, and Yemen.
IMF had in March provided debt relief for its poorest and most vulnerable members to assist them in tackling the coronavirus and its attendant economic effect.
Managing Director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva said the extension by the organisation is the second tranche of the debt relief it earlier granted 25 countries in April under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT).
“The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved on October 2, 2020, a second six-month tranche of debt service relief for 28 member countries under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT).
“This approval follows the first six-month tranche (April 14 – October 13, 2020) approved on April 13, 2020, and enables the disbursement of grants from the CCRT for payment of eligible debt service falling due to the IMF from October 14, 2020, to April 13, 2021, estimated at SDR 161 (US$227) million.
“Subject to the availability of sufficient resources in the CCRT, debt service relief could be provided for a total period of two years, through April 13, 2022, estimated at nearly SDR 680 (US$959) million,” she said.
IMF said the relief will free up scarce financial resources for vital emergency medical and other relief efforts while these members combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Abel Ejikeme