Nigeria gets a boost from IMF, recovery of loots in US

Wednesday May 6 2020

imf

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters building in Washington, US. PHOTO | REUTERS from IMF, recovery of loots in US 

By The EastAffrican

Nigeria has received $3.4 billion emergency fund from International Monetary Fund (IMF), less than 24 hours after it received a refund of $311 million from United States and Island of Jersey stashed there by past corrupt regimes.

The IMF reported that the money was requested by Nigeria under Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) and was approved on April 28, 2020. The US cash represented the amount recovered from the loots of late Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha.

Abacha who hid most of his assets in foreign banks was Nigeria’s military head of state of Nigeria from 1993 until his death in office 1998.

The fund from IMF at 3.4 per cent interest refundable in five years, is to assist Nigerian economy troubles by the ravaging novel coronavirus pandemic, IMF Managing Director, Ms Kristalina Georgieva, confirmed.

Nigeria, she explained, got the money because it exceeded the safeguards for the disbursement of the funds.

The repatriated $311 million from the assets of the late Abacha would be used according to the terms reached with the United States.

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Malam Garba Shehu, one of the spokesperson to President Muhammadu Buhari, said a statement on May 5, 2020, that the money would be utilised for critical capital projects as agreed.

The fund, he said, would be used to finance the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger bridge, and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Expressway.

“Part of the funds will also be invested in the Mambilla Power Project which, when completed, will provide electricity to some three million homes—over ten million citizens—in our country.

“The receipt of these stolen monies—and the hundreds of millions more that have already been returned from the United Kingdom and Switzerland—are an opportunity for the development of our nation, made far harder for those decades the country was robbed of these funds.

“The latest return is a testament to the growing and deepening relationship between the government of Nigeria and the government of the United States.

“Without the cooperation both from the UK government, the US executive branch and the US Congress, we would not have achieved the return of these funds at all,” he said.

He confirmed that $320 million had earlier been repatriated from Switzerland from some of the assets hidden in that country by late Abacha.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has cut its crude benchmark for 2020 budget to $20 per barrel from $30.

The figure shows a $37 per barrel cut from the initial $57 per barrel which the 2020 budget was benchmarked.

Finance, budget and planning minister, Mrs Mrs Zainab Ahmed, confirmed through a web conference on the impacts of Covid-19 on the economy.

The economy may contract by up to 3.4 per cent this year, she warned.

The pandemic would impoverish more Nigerians under a wobbling economy that already has more than 82.9 million poor Nigerians.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which released its report on May 3, 2020, on Poverty and Inequality in Nigeria 2019, said 40.1 per cent of total population were poor.

An average four out of 10 individuals in Nigeria had real per capita expenditures below $450 per year, meaning that monthly income of an individual in this category is less than $38.

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