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COVID-19: Mboweni says SA qualifies for $4.2 billion loan from IMF

The minister briefed reporters earlier on the R500 billion relief package, which would be used to circumvent the harsh impact of the pandemic.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: @TreasurySA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has confirmed government is in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the New Development Bank (NDB) seeking special coronavirus funding amounting to billions in US dollars.

The minister briefed reporters on Friday afternoon on the R500 billion relief package, which would be used to circumvent the harsh impact of the pandemic.

Mboweni said South Africa, as a member of these financial institutions, was entitled to the assistance.

Debate around government’s funding options and the possible strings attached to international finance packages, has raged since the pandemic crisis hit.

“I think to be honest, we are trying to make a mountain out of an anthill,” Mboweni said

Mboweni said they were seeking funds, but from established facilities targeted specifically at aiding struggling countries during the COVID-19 crisis.

Addressing concerns that the country was over-indebted and cannot afford to service loans, Mboweni said the money government was sourcing was not for budgetary support, which would come with other hurdles.

He indicated that the country qualifies for a $4.2 billion loan from the IMF.

And said negotiations were still underway with the World Bank to determine how much funding South Africa qualifies for.

The country has close to R3 trillion in public debt, which amounts to about 60% of the GDP.