The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday approved $50 million disbursement to Sierra Leone to address the continuing impact the COVID‑19 pandemic.
“The Sierra Leonean authorities’ quick and decisive actions mitigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping prevent a larger loss of life and even deeper economic costs,” the IMF said. “However, the pandemic will have long-lasting economic and social effects, and shrinking incomes, rising poverty, inequality, and food insecurity remain concerns.”
It added that the money is to help meet the “urgent financing needs and support their continued response to the pandemic, the IMF has approved a US$50.37 million disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility.”
Mr. Tao Zhang, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, said: “Sierra Leone is grappling with serious and persistent effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the immediate health risks appear contained, 2021 will be another challenging year. The economic and social impact is likely to be protracted, exacerbating longstanding development challenges and the strained financing situation.
“The authorities have responded promptly to the crisis. In 2020, they scaled up health and other priority spending, consistent with their Quick Action Economic Recovery Programme. The Bank of Sierra Leone’s special credit facility helped ensure that food supplies were not disrupted. The 2021 budget continues to prioritize COVID-19 and recovery-related spending within a tight budget envelope.
“Emergency financing from the IMF under the Rapid Credit Facility will help meet urgent external and fiscal financing needs in 2021, and ensure that the authorities can maintain their response and recovery efforts. In line with their National Development Plan priorities, they continue to strengthen governance, including transparently reporting on their COVID-19 response, and publishing details of large emergency‑related procurement contracts.”