Wednesday, October 07, 2020 / 10:25 AM / By IMF / Header Image Credit: US News Money
In the context of the persistent impact of the pandemic, on September 28 the IMF Executive Board approved a six-month extension of the temporary increase in access limits under its emergency financing instruments, through April 6, 2021.
Against the background of urgent balance of payments needs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, in April 2020 the IMF approved a temporary increase in access limits under its emergency financing instruments, the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), available to all members, and the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF), available only to low-income countries eligible for concessional financing. The limits on annual access were raised from 50 to 100 percent of quota, and the limits on cumulative access were increased from 100 to 150 percent of quota, for the six-month period through October 5, 2020. As of August 31, 2020, sixty-nine members have received financial support through the Fund's emergency financing instruments since the onset of the pandemic, three-quarters of whom received support at the higher levels made possible by the increase in the access limits.
Executive Board Assessment
Executive Directors welcomed the review of enhanced access limits under the Fund's emergency financing instruments. They supported the proposal for a sixâ€‘month extension of higher access limits under the regular window of the RFI and the exogenous shocks window of the RCF, with annual and cumulative access limits remaining at 100 percent of quota and 150 percent of quota, respectively, through April 6, 2021. There was broad agreement that the extension was justified to provide the Fund with flexibility to support urgent balance of payments needs, in the context of persistent pandemicâ€‘related economic disruptions. Directors also supported the proposal to extend the temporary suspension of the procedures for high access RCF requests through April 6, 2021.
Many Directors emphasized the importance of implementing appropriate governance safeguards to mitigate the misuse of emergency financing, and welcomed staff's guidance encouraging commitments related to audits and procurement.
Most Directors underscored that it will be important for countries to increasingly seek financial assistance under Upper Credit Tranche Fund arrangements rather than emergency financing, in line with discussions of the Lending Strategy and as the immediate economic impact of the pandemic abates.
Directors concurred that the temporary increase in access limits under emergency financing will be assessed as part of the wider review of the temporary changes in annual access limits in the GRA and PRGT introduced since the onset of pandemic, which is expected to be considered by the Executive Board by endâ€‘December 2020. Some Directors also called for a review of cumulative access limits.