Some of the commitments made by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be granted the $3.4 billion facility have emerged, with transparency in the utilization of the funds, topping the list.
A document on the facility made available to reliable sources, indicated that the government promised to publish names of companies to be awarded contracts in the procurement processes in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and extenuate its effects on the nation’s economy.
The federal government also pledged an independent audit of the expenditures under the COVID-19 crisis-mitigation activities.
According to the document, “to ensure financial assistance received as part of the COVID-19 response is used for intended purposes, the Nigerian authorities committed to undertake an independent audit of crisis-mitigation spending and related procurement processes and to publish procurement plans and notices for all emergency-response activities, including names of awarded companies and beneficial owners.”
It was learned that discussions on the facility took place via video conference calls from April 17 to 21, 2020.
The IMF team was lead by the Mr. Amine Mati , Snr. Resident Representative and Mission Chief for Nigeria.
The IMF team held video-conference calls with Vice President Osinbajo; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed; Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele; among other senior government officials.
An Executive Summary on the request indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic was severely impacting Nigeria’s economic activities.
The report read: “The sharp fall in international oil prices and reduced global demand for Nigeria’s oil products are worsening the fiscal and external positions, as Nigeria’s oil and gas exports (84 percent of total exports) are expected to fall by more than $26½ billion.
The economy is projected to contract by almost 3½ percent in 2020, a six-percentage point drop relative to Pre-COVID-19 projections.