Just last week the International Monetary Fund had transferred over USD 350 million to the Myanmar government as part of a COVID-19 relief aid – no strings attached. Little did it know that just days later the Tatmadaw would seize power and would then be in charge of managing that money.
Reuters reported that according to sources familiar with the payments as well as international finance experts, there appears to be little the IMF can do to claw back the funds approved by the IMF board on Jan. 13.
“We are following the unfolding developments closely. We are deeply concerned about the impact of events on the economy and on the people of Myanmar,” an IMF spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Tuesday, confirming the payment was completed last week. In total, the IMF has provided Myanmar with USD 700 million in emergency coronavirus financing over the past seven months.
Experts say they are not aware of any precedent where money that’s been approved by the IMF board could be recalled.
The question is now whether the Myanmar government that emerges from the current political turmoil will spend the money appropriately or use it at its own discretion.