(REUTERS): The International Monetary Fund has announced to provide immediate debt relief to 25 member countries to allow them to focus more financial resources on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the statement issued by the IMF, the debt relief was provided under its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT).
In this regard, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva informed that the CCRT had about $500 million in resources on hand, including new pledges of $185 million from Britain, $100 million from Japan, and undisclosed amounts from China, the Netherlands and others. The fund is pushing to raise the amount available to $1.4 billion.
She further said that the executive board approved the first batch of countries to receive grants to cover their debt service obligations to the fund for an initial six months.
Kristalina Georgieva said, “This provides grants to our poorest and most vulnerable members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial phase over the next six months and will help them channel more of their scarce financial resources towards vital emergency medical and other relief efforts.”
The IMF managing director also urged other donor countries to help IMF replenish the CCRT and boost the fund’s ability to provide additional debt service relief for a full two years to its poorest member countries.
The IMF said, “The first countries that will receive debt service relief from the CCRT are Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo, and Yemen.”
According to a US University tally, more than 1.8 million people have been reported as infected by the coronavirus globally while 115,242 have died.