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IMF enters fray on Naira devaluation

24 February 2016, 21:29

Lagos – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) appeared to propose the devaluation of the Naira, among measures to resuscitate an economy suffering the upheavals in the international oil markets.

This follows the conclusion of the 2016 Article IV Mission to Nigeria.

The IMF team led by Gene Leon visited Abuja and Lagos during December 14-17 and January 10–25.

“Eliminating existing macroeconomic imbalances and achieving sustained private sector-led growth requires a renewed focus on ensuring the competitiveness of the economy,” Leon said.

“As part of a credible package of policies, the exchange rate should be allowed to reflect market forces more and restrictions on access to foreign exchange removed, while improving the functioning of the interbank foreign exchange market (IFEM).”

Also read: Channel loans to real sector, IMF advises Nigeria

Leon’s sentiments came as the Naira crashed to a record 400 to the United States currency.

That is almost double the official rate. Government has defied calls by economists to devalue.

Leon said it would be important for the regulatory and supervisory frameworks to ensure a strong and resilient financial sector that can support private sector investment across production segments, including small and medium enterprises at reasonable financing costs.

He noted staff wass supportive of the authorities’ ongoing efforts to promote targeted and core infrastructure,  reduce business environment costs through greater transparency and accountability, promote employment of youth and female populations.

“Steadfast implementation of structural reforms is key,” said Leon.

He added adopting a sound Petroleum Industry Bill, including by applying the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism framework, would help strengthen the regulatory framework for the oil sector.

“Emphasis should be sustained on doing ‘more with less’ to improve the efficiency of public sector service delivery and create an enabling environment to attract investment.”

IMF said growth is projected to improve slightly to 3,2 percent in 2016 but could rebound to 4,9 percent in 2017, “supported by an appropriate policy package that would, for example, enable priority infrastructure investments.” 




- CAJ News

Tags imf lagos naira

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