By Folasade Akpan
The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Executive Board has approved immediate debt service relief to 25 of its member countries.
The grant would be provided under the IMF’s revamped Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT).
Ms Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director, said this in a statement issued in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
According to her, the relief was part of the Fund’s response to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This provides grants to our poorest and most vulnerable members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial phase over the next six months.
“It will help them channel more of their scarce financial resources towards vital emergency medical and other relief efforts.
“The CCRT can currently provide about 500 million dollars in grant-based debt service relief, including the recent 185 million dollars pledge by the United Kingdom and 100 million dollars provided by Japan as immediately available resources.
“Others, including China and the Netherlands, are also stepping forward with important contributions.”
Georgieva urged other donors to help the IMF replenish the Trust’s resources and further boost its ability to provide additional debt service relief for a full two years to its poorest member countries.
The countries that would receive debt service relief are: Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia and Guinea.
Others are Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo and Yemen.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the IMF is an organisation of 189 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty around the world.