Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has urged the Nigerian government to keep the receipts of the $3.4 billion emergency financial assistance.
Georgieva, who gave the advice on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 in an interview with CNBC Africa, disclosed that the IMF had already disbursed the $3.4 billion credit to Nigeria.
She noted that accountability and transparency were crucial and that it was imperative to retain the trust of people who were experiencing hard times as the coronavirus ravages the world.
“One important message we send to everybody and it was indicated in the case of Nigeria as well is, yes, spend, because you have to support the economy going over this difficult time, it’s like building a bridge, but keep the receipt.
“We cannot afford to have accountability and transparency taking back seat. I am very pleasantly impressed by how many countries have actually in their letter of intent tell us how they exactly going to make their spending transparent. Very very important to retain the trust of people who are going through such a difficult time,” the IMF boss said.
She said the IMF expected countries to prioritise health systems and the most vulnerable in society in their spending as stated in their letters of intent.
“What we are asking countries in their letter of intent to the fund in which they state what they want to use the money for is to prioritise two things: prioritise health systems, pay doctors, nurses, sustain hospitals, and prioritise support for the most vulnerable people to social safety net and other programmes, and to most vulnerable parts of the economy.”
Regarding Nigeria’s $3.4 billion request, Ms Georgieva said “We have already disbursed. In emergency assistance, the board approves, we disburse within days to the country and it goes to their central bank in dollars before it gets converted into naira in the case of Nigeria.
“The conditions are quite favourable. Repayment period is five years, up to two and half years is grace period and the interest on the loan is one per cent.
“We have put in place policy tracking action, and we are seeing progress each country is making. The IMF will continue to support countries and shield them from catastrophic implications of the COVID-19 crisis.”