The International Monetary Fund is going to lend $191.8 million in emergency aid for North Macedonia for helping it out to cope with the economic impact of the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, the IMF stated on Friday.

The loan that has been approved under the lender's Rapid Financing Instrument is going to help the tiny Balkan country for financing the health and macroeconomic stabilization measures while also meet the urgent balance of payments needs that is coming up due to the coronavirus crisis, the IMF mentioned.

IMF to help Macedonia tackle coronavirus

The International Monetary Fund logo is seen during the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington, U.S., April 21, 2017.
The International Monetary Fund logo is seen during the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington, U.S., April 21, 2017. Reuters

The Washington-based lender decided earlier this week to disburse emergency aid equalling 100 percent of quotas that its members have with the IMF. The loans are provided in the form of immediate disbursements.

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a major toll on the North Macedonia economy, the lender said, forecasting a four percent decline in the real gross domestic product in 2020 due to a fall in both domestic and external demand. Macedonia had projected its GDP would grow 3.8 percent this year.

The country has recorded 711 cases of coronavirus infection

The country has recorded 711 cases of coronavirus infection and 32 deaths. "The authorities quickly responded with targeted and temporary fiscal policy support to limit the social and economic impact of the health emergency," Tao Zhang, the IMF Executive Board Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, said in a statement.

Zhang said the country's central bank has cut its monetary policy rate and implemented regulatory changes to encourage banks to restructure debts of high-quality borrowers affected by the pandemic. He also said the authorities have committed to rebuild fiscal buffers once the crisis is over and implement the structural reforms needed to preserve debt sustainability and speed up income convergence to European Union countries.

Last month, the EU has pledged to start membership negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania after two years of delays. North Macedonia has become NATO's newest member earlier this month following a long process that included a change to the country's name.

(With agency inputs)