There are indications that the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund may approve the $3.4bn loan sought by Nigeria on Tuesday (today).
Although the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had on April 6, while announcing that Nigeria had applied for the loan, said the funds were expected within six to 12 weeks, Reuters and Bloomberg reported that the IMF would meet over the request today.
The reports quoted unofficial sources in the IMF.
If approved, the loan would be among the largest allocations by the IMF to an African country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is expected that the IMF Executive Board would approve the loan having already approved similar requests for several countries.
According to the IMF, about 102 countries applied for aid as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, had in a statement on April 7 said the organisation was working hard to respond to the request as soon as possible.
Georgieva noted, “Nigeria’s economy is being threatened by the twin shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated sharp fall in international oil prices.”
The IMF boss also observed that the Federal Government had initiated a number of measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus and its impact.
The measures, according to Georgieva, include swift release of contingency funds to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
She added that the Nigerian government was working on an economic stimulus package that would help provide relief for households and businesses impacted by the downturn.
The organisation has also said Nigeria and other African countries need an estimated sum of $114bn to fund the campaign against the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in the continent.
The Federal Government is hoping on the IMF credit, and similar loan requests from the World Bank and the African Development Bank, to cushion the effects of the pandemic on the country’s economy.