The World Bank has announced the approval of an additional $14 billion package to assist companies and countries in their efforts to prevent the continuous spread of Coronavirus.
The bank, in a statement, revealed that the fast-track financing package will help strengthen national systems for public health preparedness, including for disease containment, diagnosis, treatment and support the private sector.
Similarly, the statement revealed that the International Finance Corporation, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will increase its COVID-19 related financing to $8 billion from an earlier $6 billion, as part of the $14 billion package.
The organization added that the package will also benefit sectors involved in responding to the pandemic, including healthcare and related industries, which face increased demand for services, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals.
President of the World Bank Group, David Malpass, while explaining the role of the bank in the ongoing global crisis, stated: “It’s essential that we shorten the time to recovery. This package provides urgent support to businesses and their workers to reduce the financial and economic impact of the spread of COVID-19.
“The World Bank Group is committed to a fast, flexible response based on the needs of developing countries. Support operations are already underway, and the expanded funding tools approved today will help sustain economies, companies and jobs.”
The World Bank, earlier in March, announced a facility but stressed that the additional $2 billion from the IFC will serve as a buffer for the initial support.
The support from the financial body will include $2 billion from the Real Sector Crisis Response Facility, $2 billion from the existing Global Trade Finance Program, $2 billion from the Working Capital Solutions program and $2 billion from the Global Trade Liquidity Program.
The outbreak of the pandemic has subjected the global market to torture as oil prices crashed to a near 17-year low, falling close to 10 per cent on the likelihood of significantly lower demand and Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase supply.
Brent crude fell 9.2 per cent to just above $26 a barrel; the lowest since late 2003. While it traded at near $70 in January, it fell more than 15 per cent to below $23 a barrel.
The slump weighed heavily on the currencies of oil-dependent economies like Nigeria, with the Federal Government forced to review its 2020 budget and finding new ways to diversify the country’s economy.