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IMF Says Iraq Has Requested Emergency Assistance, Talks Ongoing

IMF Says Iraq Has Requested Emergency Assistance, Talks Ongoing

Monday, 25 January, 2021 - 05:45
Nabi Younes market is seen empty during a curfew imposed by the Iraqi authorities, following the outbreak of the coronavirus, in east Mosul, Iraq, March 15, 2020. (Reuters)

Iraq has requested emergency assistance from the International Monetary Fund and talks are ongoing between the parties, the IMF said late on Sunday.


Iraqi Finance Minister Ali Allawi told Bloomberg News earlier that Iraq was in talks with the IMF for a $6 billion loan package.


“The Iraqi authorities have requested emergency assistance from the IMF under the Rapid Financing Instrument, and indicated their intention to also request a longer-term arrangement with the Fund in support of planned economic reforms,” an IMF representative said in an emailed statement.


“Discussions of the authorities’ request for emergency assistance are ongoing.”


The IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument provides quick financial assistance, which is available to all member countries facing an urgent balance-of-payments need.


Financial assistance under the RFI is provided without the need for a full-fledged program or review, according to the IMF website.


Iraq may ask for an additional $4 billion in low-cost loans through another program linked to government reforms, Allawi said on Sunday.


Iraq devalued the dinar last month after a collapse in global oil prices, a major source of Iraq’s financial resources.


Allawi told Bloomberg that Iraq also planned other types of funding to help plug the budget gap. Once the spending plan was approved, the government would move to issue $5 billion in domestic bonds to expand its financial base.


The OPEC member’s economy has only a small manufacturing base and almost all goods are dollar-priced imports.


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