R.E.V.E.A.L.E.D: COVID-19 consumes $19.5b – IMF

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Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed Monday, that world leaders committed about $19.5 billion to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the people.

IMF said that the funds put into the fight against the pandemic consisted of nearly $12 trillion in fiscal actions and about $7.5 trillion in monetary actions.

The global body in its 2020 Annual Report described 2020 as, “a Year Like No Other”, as it noted the current deep global economic recession with the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

It said, “Uncertainty remains around the outlook, alongside long-term forces that shape and influence countries’ response to the virus and the recovery.

“People all over the world have seen profound changes in their lives: economic recession, unemployment, climate change, technology and the automation of jobs, the rise of digital currencies, lower returns on their savings, and rising inequality and debt.

“As the world faces a crisis like no other, the IMF and its members have swung into action. National governments took bold steps to save lives and put a floor under the world economy, with nearly $12 trillion in fiscal actions and about $7.5 trillion in monetary actions.”

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The IMF said that the on-going crisis however, offered opportunities to build a better future for everyone, adding, “working together in good faith and with shared goals can yield solution to our most pressing problems, restore leadership and trust in institutions, and create a recovery that builds a global economy to serve everyone.”

The fund’s Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, said that IMF package of measures endorsed as part of the quota review approved by the Board of Governors in February 2020 preserved its  financial firepower.

“These measures include the doubling of the New Arrangements to Borrow and a new round of bilateral borrowing arrangements, which are expected to be effective in January 2021,” she said.

According to her, IMF to committed over $100 billion to help members in need since the pandemic began.

According to her, “This includes providing our low-income members with much-needed debt relief, extended until April 2021, and concessional lending—including about 10 times more such lending since the crisis hit than we usually disburse in a year. Our response was comprehensive, supporting both members that entered the crisis with vulnerabilities such as high debt and those that have good fundamentals but needed buffers.

“In response to the crisis, we quickly focused on our members’ most critical needs. We streamlined our procedures and rapidly embraced remote work to speed up decision-making, policy discussions, technical assistance, and training. We created a policy tracker summarizing the key economic responses of 196 economies, because sharing information, data, and analysis is a unique way we can add value for our members.

“While the IMF has taken unprecedented action, the outlook remains uncertain. Countries now face a long ascent that will be difficult, uneven, uncertain, and prone to setbacks.

“With substantial space in our $1 trillion lending capacity, the IMF is ready to help even more. Working with our members—now numbering 190 with the addition of Andorra—we can build a recovery that is more resilient and inclusive for all.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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