The $1.5 billion loan to support Nigeria’s efforts to contain the spread of the rampaging Coronavirus (COVID-19), which the country is seeking from the World Bank will be decided in the month of July, Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director said Friday. The bank is working on packages that could provide more than $3 billion to Africa’s largest economy, which is facing what the lender says maybe its greatest fiscal crisis in 40 years, set off by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting oil price crash.
Chaudhuri told Reuters, “We were hoping to present to our board by late July or latest early August because the government will need the finance. The immediate challenge is a fiscal one: How does the government marshal the fiscal resources to keep basic government functions going?” Chaudhuri said.
On Thursday, Nigeria’s finance minister after briefing the National Economic Council (NEC) members said the economy could shrink as much as 8.9 per cent in 2020. The World Bank expects Nigeria’s economy to shrink by between 3.2 per cent and 8 per cent in 2020, and government oil revenues could fall by a third or possibly more than half, said Chaudhuri. The Bank’s lead economist on Nigeria, Marco Hernandez, said even if the outbreak were contained, the situation was “unprecedented, shocking.”