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S’pore plans S$27.7m contribution to IMF initiatives for low-income countries hit by Covid-19

​SINGAPORE — Singapore will contribute US$20.57 million (S$27.7 million) in grants to support International Monetary Fund (IMF) initiatives aimed at helping vulnerable, low-income countries cope with the economic impact of Covid-19.

A general view shows the Monetary Authority of Singapore building in Singapore on April 14, 2016.

A general view shows the Monetary Authority of Singapore building in Singapore on April 14, 2016.

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SINGAPORE — Singapore will contribute US$20.57 million (S$27.7 million) in grants to support International Monetary Fund (IMF) initiatives aimed at helping vulnerable, low-income countries cope with the economic impact of Covid-19.

The grants will be made as part of international efforts to “enhance the capacity” of the IMF to support the surge in requests for financial assistance from such countries, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a statement on Wednesday (March 31).

The move is subject to Parliament’s approval on April 5, MAS added. 

Singapore hopes to provide grants to three IMF initiatives:

  • The Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT)

  • The Covid-19 Crisis Capacity Development Initiative (CCCDI), and

  • The Trust for Special Poverty Reduction and Growth Operations for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (PRG-HIPC Trust).

The bulk of the contribution — US$17.6 million — will go to the CCRT, which provides the IMF’s poorest members with debt relief in the event of a global health pandemic or natural catastrophe.

The trust is in need of a US$1.4 billion replenishment “to help strengthen healthcare systems in low-income countries”, MAS said.

It added that Singapore’s grant to the CCRT is commensurate with the country’s IMF quota share. Quotas determine the maximum amount of financial resources a member is obliged to provide.

US$2 million will go to the CCCDI, which tends to the urgent capacity development needs of countries affected by the pandemic, and is expected to raise US$100 million.

Lastly, US$970,000 will go to the PRG-HIPC Trust and support the IMF’s US$344 million financing package for Somalia’s debt relief.

“The IMF has assessed that Somalia’s external debt is unsustainable and it requires urgent assistance to clear its prolonged arrears,” it said.

Singapore has a strong interest in supporting global economic recovery from the pandemic, said MAS. 

“Alongside other member countries’ contributions, Singapore’s grant contributions in response to the IMF’s request also demonstrate our support for collective global action to help the most vulnerable countries,” it added.

Grants to the CCRT and CCCDI will come from MAS’ Official Foreign Reserves, while those to the PRG-HIPC Trust will come from Singapore’s share of existing resources in other IMF accounts, the authority said. 

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