Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari urged international financial institutions to cancel the debt obligations of member states to help them withstand the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a meeting with other heads of state from the Non-Aligned Movement, Buhari urged official lenders to help cushion the pandemic fallout with “outright debt cancellation,” according to a statement sent by his office.
Nearly half of Nigeria’s outstanding external debt is with multilateral lenders, led by the World Bank Group with $10.1 billion. Beijing-based Export-Import Bank of China is the second-biggest creditor with loans totaling $3.2 billion, while Eurobonds account for $10.86 billion or 39% of external debt.
In April, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said the government is seeking a temporary suspension from multilateral and bilateral creditors to unlock funds to battle the illness that is spreading fast in Africa’s most populous country.
The West African country received $3.4 billion in emergency financing from the International Monetary Fund last week, but currently holds no outstanding debt with the global lender.