The temporary increase in access limits under IMF emergency financing instruments will expire on October 5, 2020, unless extended. Access limits under emergency instruments (the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI)) were increased in April 2020 for a period of six months, from 50 to 100 percent of quota annually and from 100 to 150 percent of quota cumulatively. The increased limits are subject to review and can be extended before their expiration.
It is proposed to extend the period of higher access limits for emergency financing for a period of six months, through April 6, 2021. Against a background of continued pandemic-related disruption, staff expects there could be significant demand for emergency lending in the October 2020–April 2021 period, including from countries with pending requests and from countries that received emergency support at levels less than the maximum amounts available. A six-month extension would give more time for countries to benefit from higher access limits under emergency financing.
This paper presents Liberia’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility. The economic impact of the pandemic is hitting the poorest with little social safety net, and food security of those relying on uncertain daily income is a pressing concern. The authorities have responded by taking revenue and expenditure measures to support emergency food aid for the poor; improving monitoring and control of spending; and safeguarding scarce foreign exchange reserves. Preliminary data suggest that performance under the Extended Credit Facility-supported program has been weak, though the authorities are fully committed to address the weaknesses. In order to address the shortage of Liberian dollars and the growing need for more US dollar liquidity, the authorities have contracted the printing of additional Liberian dollar bank notes and are formulating measures for inclusion in the FY2021 budget to augment US dollar liquidity.
In direct response to the COVID-19 crisis the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board has adopted some immediate enhancements to its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) to enable the Fund to
provide debt service relief for its poorest and most vulnerable members. The CCRT enables the IMF to deliver grants for debt relief benefiting eligible low-income countries in the wake of catastrophic natural disasters and major, fast-spreading public health emergencies.
The Fund’s existing facilities for low-income countries (LICs) provide a vehicle for the speedy provision of financial assistance to member countries hit by natural disasters, either through the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) or through augmentation of the funding already being provided through other facilities such as the Standby or Extended Credit Facilities. The quick disbursement of funds strengthens national financial capacity, including external payments capacity, to tackle relief and recovery challenges.
To address catastrophic disasters, the Fund created a mechanism in 2010 to provide additional relief to its poorest and most vulnerable member countries to help meet their exceptional balance of payments needs. Under this mechanism, the Fund can provide grants from a trust fund—the Post Catastrophe Debt Relief (PCDR) trust—that are used to pay off debt service falling due to the Fund. These grants ease pressures on the member’s balance of payments and create financial space by reducing its debt service burden.
This paper proposes reforms to this mechanism to cover situations where the member is experiencing an epidemic of an infectious disease that constitutes a significant threat to lives, economic activity, and international commerce across countries.