The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it has the capacity to call upon funds to the tune of US$1 trillion dollars to assist its member countries affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Global coronavirus cases to date amount to 199 194, with 7 994 having lost their lives to the virus.

“The IMF stands ready to mobilize its $1 trillion lending capacity to help our membership. As a first line of defense, the Fund can deploy its flexible and rapid-disbursing emergency response toolkit to help countries with urgent balance-of-payment needs.

“These instruments could provide in the order of $50 billion to emerging and developing economies. Up to $10 billion could be made available to our low-income members through our concessional financing facilities, which carry zero interest rates,” said the Bretton Woods institution.

The IMF has 189 member countries.

“The Fund already has 40 ongoing arrangements—both disbursing and precautionary—with combined commitments of about $200 billion. In many cases, these arrangements can provide another vehicle for the rapid disbursement of crisis financing.

“We also have received interest from about 20 countries and will be following up with them in the coming days.

“In addition, the Fund’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) can help the poorest countries with immediate debt relief, which will free up vital resources for health spending, containment, and mitigation.”

Concerns over the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy has hurt investor sentiment and had a negative impact on stock prices in major markets.

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