Economist advises FG to be wary of IMF loan conditions

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An economist, Prof. Akpan Ekpo has advised the Federal Government to critically examine loan conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before consenting to the offer.

 Ekpo, the Director-General, West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.

 He said that the interest-free loan offer of the IMF usually had conditions which needed to be scrutinised.

 According to him, if there are no hidden catches, the country should take advantage of the attractive concessionary rates and long term repayment period.

 “I think Nigeria should take advantage of it if she is still allowed to borrow as a low-income country.

 “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved that the country can borrow externally to fund capital projects to either get the country out of the recession or minimise the adverse impact of the crisis.

 “I hope Nigeria as a middle-income country is still within the grace period as a low-income country.”

 NAN reports that the IMF had, in a declaration under the theme `We Can End Poverty Together, Global Problem and Global Solutions,’ announced low interest rate on all its concessional facilities until 2018.

 Christine Largarde, Managing Director of the IMF had stated: “If we want to address the inequality issues around the world, we need to have a strong international safety net.

 “In this context, I am pleased to note that our board has approved zero interest rates on all fund concessional facilities until 2018.

 “This is really important for low-income countries to be able to actually absorb the shocks without necessarily going to the international markets or relying on bilateral lending that can be far expensive,” she said.


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