The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has already authorised financial assistance for 50 member countries during the coronavirus pandemic, said IMF Spokesperson Gerry Rice on Thursday (local time) during a virtual press briefing.
"The IMF's Executive Board has approved financing under the emergency facilities at record speed for 50 countries, totalling about 18 billion dollars at this point. It is an IMF moving at an unprecedented speed in an unprecedented way to meet this unprecedented challenge," he said.
Rice said the emergency assistance for Covid-19 is not comparable with normal IMF programmes since the funds are not tied to certain conditions.
"Importantly, these facilities allow the IMF to provide emergency assistance without the need to have a full-fledged programme. So, they do not entail the usual IMF conditionality," he said.
In order to ensure full transparency and prevent any misuse of funds, the IMF asked 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 IMF 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 IMF called 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 to 25 countries under our revamped Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (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," said Rice.