IMF excludes Nigeria from debt relief.
One of Nigeria’s leading newspapers, The Nation Nigeria, on Tuesday, April 6th, in an article titled ‘IMF excludes Nigeria from debt relief’ claimed that Nigeria had is excluded from the list of 28 countries granted debt pardon by the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Misbar's investigation finds that this is more of a recycled story. The debt service relief's approval was on 1st April 2021, with permission for the first two tranches issued on April 13, 2020, and October 2, 2020.
The debt relief went to the poorest of the IMF’s member states who were owing, and they had all requested for it as explained in the IMF’s April 15, 2020 announcement.
Following widespread cry in the media over the supposed ‘exclusion’ of Nigeria from the debt relief package, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Development, Zainab Ahmed, had clarified the situation. Tweeting via her verified Twitter handle on April 16, 2020, she had explained that the relief meant for the “poorest and most vulnerable members (of the group) to cover part of their IMF debt obligations.”
“It is true Nigeria is not a beneficiary of recent IMF debt relief for 25 countries. As stated in the IMF Executive Board statement, the relief ‘provides grants to our poorest & most vulnerable members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial phase over the next six months.
“Since Nigeria is not indebted to the IMF, there is no outstanding debt obligation to be forgiven. Nigeria’s application for new IMF financing is under consideration and receiving attention,” she revealed.
“The new application is for financing under the Rapid Financing Initiative (RFI)."
“Nigeria is entitled to access up to 100% of its quota under the Rapid Financing Initiative (RFI). Our current financial position at the IMF is public information on the International Monetary Fund website,” she concluded.
Nigeria is not owing to the IMF and, as such, could not have been one of the countries granted relief.