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Coronavirus: Nigeria seeks $7bn loan from international lenders

By Ruth Olurounbi
Posted on Monday, 6 April 2020 17:01, updated on Monday, 20 April 2020 16:15

Global Finance
Nigeria's Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed speaks with former International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde, during the International Monetary Fund IMF Governors group photo at the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, Saturday, April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The Nigerian government is seeking to borrow as just over $6.9bn from international lenders including the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Islamic Development bank to help counteract the impact of coronavirus on the economy, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said in Abuja, on Monday.

This comes after the minister held a meeting with the leaders of the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives over the weekend seeking approval to set up a N500bn intervention fund to fight the COVID-19.

The government will ask for $3.4bn from the IMF, $2.5bn from the World Bank and another $1bn from the African Development Bank (AfDB), said the minister.

“We have also applied for funding from the International Monetary Fund’s COVID-19 Rapid Credit Facility to draw from our existing holdings with the World Bank Group/International Monetary Fund.

This loan will not be tied to any conditionalities,” she said.

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Continued engagements

According to Ahmed, Nigeria will continue on with its engagements with the World Bank, the AfDB, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the International Monetary Fund “to access concessional funding to support the implementation of the 2020 Budget.”

Nigeria has so far reported 232 confirmed COVID-19 cases and five deaths (at the time of this publication), according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The centre is fighting the virus with a $90m Regional Disease Surveillance Systems (REDISSE) facility from the World Bank, out of which $8m has been drawn.

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Additional financing

The country has also requested to fully draw down on the outstanding balance of $82m, according to the finance minister who said the government has also requested an additional financing of $100m from the REDISSE project to meet COVID-19 emergency needs in all the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (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,” said Ahmed.

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