The board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved the sum of $3.4 billion to support Nigeria’s COVID-19 fight. The emergency financial assistance to Nigeria is the highest so far to any member country.
The IMF Executive Board today approved US$3.4 billion to help #Nigeria address the severe economic impact of the #COVID19 pandemic and the sharp fall of oil prices. https://t.co/BmFoajYR6q #IMFAfrica pic.twitter.com/XIRYgS2CGC
— IMF (@IMFNews) April 28, 2020
The assistance, facilitated via the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), will help limit the decline in Nigeria’s international reserves, the IMF said. It will also 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.
The IMF praised the Nigerian government’s “immediate” response to the crisis, describing it as “welcome.” However, it noted that short-term focus should be on higher health spending and palliative for households and businesses. The financial body also said Nigeria should take steps to unify its exchange rate as quickly as possible.
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,”, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair of the IMF, Mr Mitsuhiro Furusawa said.