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Nigeria to borrow $6.9bn to cushion coronavirus impact

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Nigerian government on Monday said it is seeking to borrow about $6.9bn from international lenders including the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank.

Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said the money will help counteract the impact of coronavirus on the economy.

Ahmed said the country has asked for $3.4 billion from the International Monetary Fund, $2.5 billion from the World Bank and $1 billion from the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The IMF, which has received requests for help from about 80 nations including 20 in Africa, is making about $50 billion available from its emergency financing facilities to help countries cope with the crisis. The World Bank has approved a $14 billion response package, Reuters reported.

Ahmed, in March, said Nigeria was ready to cut down its 2020 $34.6 billion budget to around $4.9 billion due to low oil prices and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has reduced global demand for fuel.

The minister said the budget would assume an oil price of $30 a barrel from $57, and production of 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd) rather than 2.1 million bpd.

“The emerging health and economic risks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and decline in international oil prices pose existential threats to Nigeria’s economy, healthcare system, national security, as well as the lives of our citizens,” she said.

According to the finance minister, Nigerian government had provided 102.5 billion naira to support the healthcare sector. At least 6.5 billion naira have been allotted to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

Lagos state, which has most of the cases of coronavirus, had also received 10 billion naira in emergency funding.


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