By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
Political leaders and Central Banks across the globe have built an $8 trillion war chest against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva disclosed this, yesterday, during the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting at the on-going virtual Spring Meetings.
She stated: “Thank you to the Saudi Presidency for steering the G20 in this unprecedented crisis, and to all of you for the remarkable efforts to protect people and the economy. $8 trillion of fiscal measures and ample liquidity by central banks have helped build a bridge to recovery for companies and households. And you stepped up with an initiative on a time-bound suspension of debt service payments for the poorest countries. I wholeheartedly welcome this timely action.”
Georgieva said that IMF has quickly responded to the call by G20 to up its financial assistance to countries hit by the pandemic.
She said: “We doubled annual access limits for emergency financing. Over 100 countries have already approached us and by the end of this month, half of the requests will have been approved by our Board. Ten countries have already received emergency assistance.
“This Monday our Board granted immediate relief for debt service to IMF to 25 countries. We thank members who have made generous pledges to this effort and call on others to contribute.”
The IMF boss further remarked that her team and world leaders were discussing a new short-term liquidity line for countries with strong policies.
“We will need to step up even more. As you know, we project a deep recession in 2020 and only a partial recovery in 2021.
“To help countries steer through the depth of the recession and support their recovery, we are prepared to use our full toolbox and $1 trillion firepower, mindful of the need to use programs wisely and strengthen good governance.
“Second, to assist our low income countries, we plan to triple our concessional lending. We are therefore urgently seeking $18 billion in new loan resources for the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, and will also likely need at least $1.8 billion in subsidy resources,” she added.