The IMF has already authorized financial assistance for 50 member countries during the Coronavirus pandemic, said IMF Spokesperson Gerry Rice on Thursday during a virtual press briefing in Washington D.C.
“So since roughly the beginning of April until May 6th, yesterday, we have approved financing for 50 countries under these emergency facilities. It's an IMF moving at an unprecedented speed in an unprecedented way to meet this unprecedented challenge, which we are all facing of course.”
Rice emphasized that the emergency assistance for Covid-19 is not comparable with normal IMF programs since the funds are not tied to certain conditions.
“Importantly, these facilities allow the Fund to provide emergency assistance without the need to have a full-fledged program. So, they do not entail the usual IMF conditionality.”
In order to ensure full transparency and prevent any misuse of funds, the IMF asks member countries who apply for financing to commit that it is only used for urgent purposes related to Covid-19.
“We are asking all member governments who receive emergency financing from the Fund to commit in their letters of intent to ensure that this assistance is used for the urgent purposes agreed under the emergency financing. These letters of intent are important and they are published by member countries and they are available for you and anyone to review on the IMF website. “
The Fund is calling for the suspension of debt service payments for the poorest countries from bilateral creditors.
“The IMF, for its part, with the approval of our executive board, has gone ahead with immediate debt service relief from the IMF to 25 countries under our revamped Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, the CCRT. And this allows those countries to channel more resources towards vital health and medical relief efforts rather than repay debt obligations owed to the IMF. “
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