IMF logo is seen during the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington, U.S., April 21, 2017. (Photo: VCG)
WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a second six-month tranche of debt service relief for 28 low-income countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Relief on debt service will free up scarce financial resources for vital emergency medical and other relief efforts while these members combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," the IMF said Monday in a statement, adding this move follows the first six-month tranche of debt service relief approved in April under the so-called Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT).
The latest approval would enable the disbursement of grants from the CCRT for payment of eligible debt service falling due to the IMF from Oct. 14, 2020 to April 13, 2021, estimated at around 227 million U.S. dollars, according to the IMF.
"I am proud that the IMF has extended debt service relief for 28 of the poorest countries until April 2021. This will help them continue to support their economies and people through this crisis," IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Monday on Twitter. "Thank you to those member countries who contributed to the CCRT to make this happen."
Georgieva has launched an urgent fundraising effort that would enable the CCRT to provide relief on debt service for up to a maximum of two years, while leaving the CCRT adequately funded for future needs.
That would require a commitment of about 1 billion SDR (1.4 billion dollars) to the CCRT, and donors so far have provided grant contributions totaling about 360 million SDR, according to the IMF.