Tanzania seeks IMF loan to address COVID-19 pandemic challenges

TANZANIA is in talks with the International Monetary Fund to secure a loan to tackle the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fund’s resident representative said on Thursday.

Tanzania, which has not been publishing data on infections since May last year, will be required to provide that information before the loan is approved, Jens Reinke told Reuters.

The East African nation is seeking to borrow its entire entitlement from the IMF, amounting to about $570 million.

“COVID data is not some weird prior benchmark. When applying for pandemic-related emergency financing, evidence of the pandemic has to be available to substantiate the claim,” Reinke said.

Reinke said the government and the Fund were working to make the case for the loan and were trying to get the funding approved as soon as possible.

“We’re still building the case. They applied for 100% of quota,” Reinke said.

Abel Makubi, a senior official at the ministry of health, told Reuters he did not have facts on this IMF issue.

The government spokesman Gerson Msigwa did not immediately respond to a call or text message from Reuters seeking comment.

Earlier on Thursday, finance minister Mwigulu Nchemba told lawmakers that Tanzania’s economy grew by 4.8% in 2020 compared with 7% a year before. He said the slowdown was due to the impact of COVID-19, but eschewing lockdowns had helped the country to post positive growth.

“The positive growth as a result of the Government’s decision allowing its people to continue performing their economic activities while adhering to health guidelines and precautions,” he said.

Nchemba projected economic growth to hit 5.6% in 2021.

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