The Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, has approved a general allocation of Special Drawing Rights, SDRs, equivalent to US$650 billion (about SDR 456 billion) to boost global liquidity.
This has created a fresh opportunity for Nigeria and other countries with liquidity challenges, to access IMF facilities, to enable them fight the re-surging COVID-19, as well as strengthen their economies.
IMF Managing Director, Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, in a statement, yesterday, described the SDRs as the largest allocation in the history of the organisation.
She said: “This is a historic decision – the largest SDR allocation in the history of the IMF and a shot in the arm for the global economy at a time of unprecedented crisis. The SDR allocation will benefit all members, address the long-term global need for reserves, build confidence, and foster the resilience and stability of the global economy.
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“It will particularly help our most vulnerable countries struggling to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.”
The general allocation of SDRs would become effective on August 23, 2021.
The newly created SDRs would be credited to IMF member countries in proportion to their existing quotas in the Fund.
According to the IMF, about $275 billion (about SDR 193 billion) of the new allocation will go to emerging markets and developing countries, including low-income countries.
“We will also continue to engage actively with our membership to identify viable options for voluntary channeling of SDRs from wealthier to poorer and more vulnerable member countries to support their pandemic recovery and achieve resilient and sustainable growth,” Ms. Georgieva said.
She also said one key option for members with strong external positions would be to voluntarily channel part of their SDRs to scale up lending for low-income countries through the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, PRGT.
Concessional support through the PRGT is currently interest free.
The IMF said it was also exploring other options to help poorer and more vulnerable countries in their recovery efforts through a possible new Resilience and Sustainability Trust.
In April last year, Nigeria collected $3.4 billion—equivalent to 100 per cent of its quota— under the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument, RFI, to tackle the funding gaps created by COVID-19, especially when the crude oil market stagnated.
The financial support, approved by the IMF Executive Board on April 28, 2020, provided critical support to shore up Nigeria’s healthcare sector, and shielded jobs and businesses from the shock of the COVID-19 crisis, while helping to limit the decline in the nation’s external reserves.