By Chioma Iruke
The World Bank has said Nigeria is not a beneficiary of its debt service suspension initiative established by G20 countries.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had at the Financing Africa Summit in Paris in May this year, called on European countries and global financial institutions to consider debt relief for African countries, adding that this would assist in reducing the devastating effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the countries.
The bank’s statement was contained in a brief on ‘COVID-19: Debt service suspension initiative’ published on the bank’s website.
It said, “COVID-19 has dealt a major blow to world’s poorest countries, causing a recession that could push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty.
“That is why the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund urged G20 countries to establish the Debt Service Suspension Initiative. The DSSI is helping countries concentrate their resources on fighting the pandemic and safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of millions of the most vulnerable people.”
It added that the initiative, which started in May 2020, had delivered over $5bn in relief to over 40 eligible countries.
The suspension period, which was originally set to end on December 31, 2020, was extended to December 2021.
The brief also revealed that Nigeria is not covered under the joint Bank-Fund Debt Sustainability Framework for Low-Income Countries.
As of March 31, 2020, Nigeria owes World Bank $11.51bn, which is about 35.02 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign portfolio.