COVID-19: Nigeria, Ghana, others need $110bn, says IMF

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The International Monetary Fund says there was urgent need for international financial support to Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan countries of Africa, as the nations need $110 to manage the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

In its report entitled Sub-Saharan Africa: A Cautious Re-opening, the fund stated that the immediate priority in the region remained the preservation of health and lives.

“But as the region starts to recover, authorities should gradually shift from broad fiscal support to more affordable, targeted policies, concentrating particularly on the poorest households and those sectors hit hardest by the crisis,” the IMF stated.

It said the fund had supported 29 countries in the region with about $10bn in funding through its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust facility, but stressed that this was not enough.

“Nonetheless, more international support is needed urgently. This year alone, countries in the region will face additional financing needs of over $110bn, and despite the efforts outlined above, $44bn of this has yet to be financed.

This crisis is unprecedented. Our members need us now more than ever. And our efforts today will have significant consequences down the road, not only in helping our members offset the immediate tragedy of the crisis, but also in ensuring that peoples’ lives and livelihoods are not destroyed forever,” the IMF said.

The multilateral donor agency noted that once the crisis had waned, countries should refocus their attention on transforming their economies, creating jobs, and boosting living standards.

It said they should do this by clawing back some of the ground lost during the current crisis.

It noted that as before the crisis, part of this effort would require putting fiscal positions back on a path consistent with debt sustainability.

The fiscal positions would in turn require a renewed determination to implement revenue mobilisation, debt-management and public financial management reforms.

“In addition, sustainable, job-rich, and inclusive growth will require private sector investment, along with a business environment in which new ideas and projects can flourish, and where new opportunities can be developed fully,” the fund stated.

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