Minister: Why IMF didn’t include Nigeria among beneficiaries of debt relief

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has explained Nigeria was not enlisted among countries to benefit from the recent debt relief by the International Monetary Fund because the country is not indebted to the organisation.

Recall that IMF announced debt relief for 25 countries on Monday to enable them grapple with the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the globe.

Countries listed to benefit from the initiative had included: Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, D.R., The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo, and Yemen.

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Nigeria’s exclusion from the list had however raised concerns in some quarters. But in a tweet on Thursday, Ahmed said: “It is true Nigeria is not a beneficiary of recent IMF debt relief for 25 countries. As stated in IMF Executive Board statement, the relief ‘provides grants to our poorest and most vulnerable members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial phase over the next six months.

“Since Nigeria is not indebted to the IMF, there is no outstanding debt obligation to be forgiven. Nigeria’s application for new IMF financing is under consideration and receiving attention.”

She added: “Nigeria is entitled to access up to 100 per cent of its quota under the Rapid Financing Initiative. Our current financial position at the IMF is public information on the International Monetary Fund website.”

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