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1 Mar 2018

More Nigerians getting poorer, Says IMF

The International Monetary Fund has said more Nigerians have gotten poorer under the President Muhammadu Buhari government despite the country’s slow recovery from recession.

In a report released yesterday, the IMF said Nigeria needs urgent economic reforms. It identified risks to growth, including additional delays to implementing policies and reforms ahead of the 2019 elections, security tensions, and oil prices, a fall in which could see capital flows reversed.

The IMF however said that though the outlook for growth had improved, it still remained challenging.

The Central Bank of Nigeria frequently injects hundreds of millions of dollars into the foreign exchange market to keep its own rates stable.

The IMF further singled out the central bank, saying it should discontinue direct interventions in the economy.

The IMF further repeated its call for Nigeria to simplify its complex foreign exchange system which has left large gaps between official rates and various windows that certain groups can use to get other rates.

“Moving towards a unified exchange rate should be pursued as soon as possible. The IMF does not support the exchange measures that have given rise to the exchange restrictions and multiple currency practices,” the report stated.

“Comprehensive and coherent” economic policies “remain urgent and must not be delayed by approaching elections and recovering oil prices,” it stated in its annual Article IV review of Nigeria’s economy.

“Further delays in policy action, including because of pre-election pressures, can only make the inevitable adjustment more difficult and costlier.

“Higher oil prices would support a recovery in 2018 but a ‘muddle-through’ outlook is projected for the medium term under current policies, with fiscal dominance and structural constraints leading to continuing falls in real GDP per capita,” the report added.

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