4 years ago

IMF approves $28.9m assistance to Maldives as COVID-19 cases rise

File photo (collected)
File photo (collected)

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a disbursement of 28.9 million US dollars to the Maldives as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country continued to rise, local media reported.

The Executive Board of the IMF approved the disbursement on Thursday under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF), which the government can use to manage fiscal needs and balance of payments amid a worsening COVID-19 outbreak, reports Xinhua.

"The authorities will reprioritise and cut capital expenditures, redirecting funds as needed to combat the pandemic and provide temporary and well-targeted support to the most vulnerable households and businesses," Tao Zhang, deputy managing director of IMF said in a statement.

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer said the country needed an immediate infusion of 27 million US dollars to cover state expenses, requesting MPs to vote for a temporary stay on fiscal responsibility laws in order to enable greater borrowing from the central bank.

Meanwhile, four Maldivian citizens and five Bangladeshi nationals tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and were transferred to an isolation facility, raising the country's case count to 94, according to the Ministry of Health.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Maldives have more than doubled since clusters of community transmission were discovered in capital Male last week.

The city has been placed under a two-week lockdown with travel between islands limited to the transport of essential supplies.

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