The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it has credited the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with the $3.4 billion loan approved to assist the country’s fight against COVID-19 and resolve urgent balance of payment needs.
The Fund’s managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, made the disclosure in an interview on CNBC Africa.
“We have already disbursed (the money to Nigeria). In emergency assistance, (once) the board approves, we disburse within days to the country and it goes to the Central bank in dollars before it’s converted to naira (for the federal government’s use),” Georgieva said.
The $3.4 billion loan, when reflected in the CBN’s reserve data, will push gross external reserves to a near two month high of $36.9 billion from $33.5bn as of April 30.
The loan is the single biggest disbursement by the IMF for any country with the coronavirus pandemic, yet it may be too little to make a big dent on Nigeria’s broader economic problems which include a possible balance of payment deficit of $9bn this year.
Hit by crashing oil prices and lockdowns to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa’s biggest crude producer has also requested $3.5 billion in total from the World Bank and the African Development Bank.