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Nigeria seeks fresh $3.5b loan from IMF, AfDB amidst COVID-19 pandemic

Nigeria’s finance minister Zainab Ahmed said the country has applied to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and African Development Bank (AfDB) to access $3.5 billion in concessional funding to support the 2020 Budget.

Ahmed disclosed this on Monday during a news conference in Abuja.

She outlined the fiscal stimulus measures that the government is implementing in response to COVID-19 pandemic and oil prices fiscal shock.

Ahmed said the government applied for $2.5 billion from IMF on behalf of the states and Federal Government.

The Federal Government will take $1.5 billion, while the states will have $1billion.

According to her, $1billion is also being expected from AfDB.

Ahmed disclosed that the IMF’s COVID-19 Rapid Credit Facility would be drawn from Nigeria’s existing holdings with the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund.

She said Nigeria does not intend to negotiate or enter into a formal programme with the IMF at this time, or in the foreseeable future.

Ahmed stated that though minimum of six months is required to process the funds, the government would do everything possible to access it within two to three months in order to use it in good time for what it was meant for.

Meanwhile, the minister also disclosed that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had access to a Regional Disease Surveillance Systems (REDISSE) facility from the World Bank in the sum of 90 million dollars.

She said out of this fund, eight million dollars had already been drawn while the country requested to fully draw down on the outstanding balance of 82 million dollars.

“The government has also requested for additional financing in the sum of 100 million dollars from the REDISSE project to meet COVID-19 emergency needs in all the 36 States and the FCT, through the NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health.

“This will enable us to expand the capacity of intensive Care Units (ICUs), enhance laboratory capacity, accelerate the procurement of test kits, strengthen surveillance mechanisms as well as improve information management.

“We deeply appreciate the support we have received so far from our partners at the World Bank, IMF, AfDB and Islamic Development Bank, among others,” she added.

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