The Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva has advised President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government of Nigeria to keep receipts of spending of the $3.4bn emergency financial assistance.
The IMF Boss, who gave the advice on Tuesday in an interview with CNBC Africa revealed that the IMF had already disbursed the $3.4bn emergency financial assistance to Nigeria.
The IMF chief stated that accountability and transparency cannot be allowed to take the back seat and that it was very important to retain the trust of people who are going through difficult times as the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) 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,” she said.
Kristalina Georgieva further stated that the IMF expects that countries, as stated in their letter of intent, would prioritise health systems and the most vulnerable people in the society in their spendings.
“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,” she said.
When asked if the loan had been disbursed to Nigeria, Kristalina 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.