UK contributes £150 million ($194 million) to IMF’s catastrophe relief fund to respond to coronavirus economic impacts

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The United Kingdom on Wednesday announced it was contributing £150 million (about $194 million) to the International Monetary Fund’s Catastrophe and Containment Relief Trust (CCRT) to respond to the novel coronavirus economic impacts. CCRT provides debt relief to countries hit by catastrophic events including public health disasters.

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The contribution will be in the form of a £75 million grant directly to the trust, plus additional £75 million earmarked in the budget and contingent to demand, IMF said in a statement received by TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.

“I welcome the economic and fiscal measures announced in the UK government’s budget statement to address the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic. The coordinated monetary and fiscal policy measures will help to alleviate the health challenges and support households and businesses to bridge through the economic challenges facing the country,” said IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva.

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The Managing Director also welcomed the announcement that HM Treasury would conduct a review of the UK’s fiscal framework.

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The Managing Director praised the UK’s support for the CCRT. “This contribution represents a most welcome response to the International Monetary and Financial Committee’s (IMFC) call on the membership to provide the necessary support to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus crisis, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable countries. I urge other member countries to follow the UK’s leadership in contributing to the CCRT. By working together, we can overcome the global challenge facing us and restore growth and prosperity for all.”

The Catastrophe and Containment Relief Trust allows the IMF to support international debt relief efforts when poor countries are hit by natural disasters and to assist poor countries battling public health crises—such as epidemics like the coronavirus—with grants for debt service relief, the Fund said.

Last week, Ms. Georgieva called upon the international community to help replenish the CCRT, which had only $200 million available for the world’s poorest countries.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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