African Union seeks debt relief for Nigeria

The African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council, Nigeria office, is seeking debt relief or allow a two-year moratorium on repayments.

African Union headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa

These countries are China, France, Japan, and India.

This was contained in a statement signed by the AU agency’s Nigeria Representative, Oba Olasunkanmi.

The statement commended the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for granting relief to 25 nations under its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust to mitigate the effect of the novel coronavirus.

The AU agency’s Nigeria Representative, Oba Olasunkanmi, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, explained that as major lenders, they should also grant a reprieve to the Federal Government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Certainly, this will further assist the benefiting countries to significantly cushion the impact of the dreaded disease on their economies. Nigeria, at this time, needs support to enable it to recover from the financial impact.”

The AU added that it would not be easy for Nigeria to service the debts due to the economic realities caused by COVID-19 “as the United Nations had projected that the world would need $1 trillion for continual existence.”

“Nigeria needs China’s support at this trying time, with the long and fruitful bilateral relationship between both countries which has led to Nigerian government owing China the debt of about $3.2 billion.”

“We are being faithful in payment of service charges. In 2019, Nigeria paid $138.8 million (N53.7billion) to EXIM Bank of China in settlement, the highest amount paid to any bilateral institution for the year,” the statement added.

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