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COVID-19: IMF extends debt relief for 28 low-income countries by six months

6 October 2020

The executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a six-month extension of the debt service relief granted to 28 low-income countries.

This follows a six-month debt relief granted to 25 countries in April under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT).

The benefitting countries are Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, the Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo and Yemen.

In a statement on Monday, the Bretton Wood institution said grants will be disbursed under the CCRT for payment of eligible debt service falling due to the IMF from October 14, 2020.

“Subject to the availability of sufficient resources in the CCRT, the debt service relief could be provided for a total period of two years through to April 13, 2022, estimated at nearly $959 million,” the statement read.

“Relief on debt service will free up scarce financial resources for vital emergency medical and other relief efforts while these members combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

It said the debt service relief under the CCRT requires $1.4 billion and so far, it has received about $506.5 million from donors, including the UK, Japan, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, China, Mexico, Sweden, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, and Malta.

Together with the World Bank, the IMF has urged bilateral and multilateral lenders to offer debt relief to the world’s poorest countries to allow governments to concentrate on health spending.

Nigeria is one of the International Development Association (IDA) countries that received debt relief in March.

The IMF Executive Board Extends Immediate Debt Service Relief for 28 Eligible Low-Income Countries for Another Six Months