The executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved US $111.6-million disbursement to Haiti under the Rapid Credit Facility.
The money will help to offset the country’s essential health-related expenditures and to ease the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
In the meanwhile, Haiti’s Government has announced measures to support workers and households, including paying salaries and providing food and cash transfers to the public.
The pandemic has worsened an already weak economic outlook for the country.
According to the IMF, an expected sharp drop in remittance flows, reduction in textile exports, and a decline in foreign direct investment will put significant strain on the balance of payments.
Additional direct health and social expenditures, together with a further drop in fiscal revenues, will add to the fiscal deficit and financing needs.
“COVID-19 poses a major challenge for Haiti, a country in a fragile situation with very limited health care services [which is] just emerging from two years of socio-political instability and worsening economic hardship. Measures are being taken by the Government to stop the spread of the virus and to cushion the economic impact of the shock,” said Tao Zhang, IMF deputy managing director, and acting chair.
The Haitian population, 60 percent of which exists below the poverty line, also suffers from high levels of diabetes and other health conditions.
To date, Haiti has reported 72 cases of the coronavirus, with six deaths.
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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