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IMF boss urges support for poorest countries



Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on the international community to support the world’s poorest countries.

Georgieva said this should be done by helping to close a funding gap facing the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust ((PRGT), the Fund’s main instrument to support low-income countries with interest-free loans.

She said this at the High-Level Roundtable Discussion on Low-Income Countries’ Challenges and Concessional Financing at the World Bank/IMF 2023 Spring Meetings in Washington D.C.

Georgieva said that low-income countries had been impacted severely by multiple economic shocks in recent years.

She explained that these countries’ per-capita income was expected to rise at the slowest pace since 1990, hindering their aspirations to catch up with richer economies.


“This puts them in danger of further divergence unless we act,” she said.

Georgieva said since the start of the pandemic, the IMF had provided 24 billion dollars in support through the PRGT, alleviating people’s suffering and preventing instability from spreading beyond borders.

However, she said higher international interest rates had raised the cost of borrowing and increased the funding shortfall.

“As an urgent first step, what I call for is to close the subsidy gap by providing pledges of 1.6 billion dollars, and we need 4.7 billion dollars to close the loan resource gap.

“Remember, every one dollar of subsidy mobilises five dollars of zero-interest loans, and that is what countries rely on for us to be able to support them.


“We have to work together to close this gap and I have no doubt that we will be successful,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Bank Group/IMF 2023 Spring Meeting opened on Monday in Washington DC and will end on April 16.

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NCDC registers 1,968 Lassa fever cases in 28 states



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), has registered 1,068 Lassa fever infections across 112 local government areas in 28 states of the federation.

The NCDC said this via its official website on Tuesday in its Lassa Fever Situation Report for Week 37 (Sep. 11 -17, 2023).

The centre indicated that 75 per cent of the cases were detected in Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi States.

Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. It is primarily found in West Africa, particularly in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

The virus is transmitted to humans through contact with the urine or feces of infected rodents, specifically the multimammate rat.


According to the NCDC, there are currently 7,352 individuals with suspected cases and the infection has resulted in the unfortunate loss of at least 181 lives in the country.

The centre said that the case-fatality ratio of the infection stood at 16.9 per cent.

“Cumulatively from week 1 to week 37, 2023, 181 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate of 16.9 per cent which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2022 (19.1 per cent).

“In total for 2023, 28 States have recorded at least one confirmed case across 112 local government areas.

“Seventy-five per cent of all confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported from these three states (Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi) while 25 per cent were reported from 25 states with confirmed Lassa fever cases.


“Of the 75 per cent confirmed cases, Ondo reported 35 per cent, Edo 29 per cent, and Bauchi 11 per cent.

“The predominant age group affected is 21-30 years (Range: 1 to 93 years, Median Age: 32 years).

“The male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:0.9. The number of suspected cases increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2022,” it said.

It is regretted that in 2023 Lassa fever infected 49 healthcare workers across the country.

The agency said that the National Lassa Fever Multi-partner, Multi-sectoral Emergency Operations Centre had been activated to coordinate the response activities at all levels.


It added that prevention of Lassa fever involves avoiding contact with rodents and their droppings, practising good personal hygiene and taking precautions when caring for infected individuals.

The NCDC said that early diagnosis and prompt medical care are crucial in managing the disease and preventing complications.

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NLC, TUC suspend planned strike for 30 days




Organised labour unions have suspended their planned nationwide indefinite strike action for the next one month.

This was contained in a memorandum of understanding signed Monday by the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja; as well as the TUC President, Festus Osifo, and Secretary General, Nuhu Toro.

The three-page document was also signed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Dr Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; and Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris.

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