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IMF head offers solutions to save Nigeria’s economy

18 April 2016, 09:40Okoro Chinedu

Lagos – International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, has urged Nigeria to seek international assistance, ensure flexibility in the exchange rate and diversify its economy in order to overcome prevailing challenges.

Speaking at a press event in Washington, United States she said the low price of commodities, oil in particular, was a critical issue in Nigeria.

“If I recall, I think it is 80 percent of your exports and 60 percent of your revenue, is actually oil-dependent. So, when there is a massive decline in the price of oil, those two also take a similar hit. So, it has a major impact on the country,” said Lagarde.

She offered solutions.

“Our recommendation is that Nigeria seeks help from the international institutions that can best help, first,” said Lagarde.

“Second is that Nigeria is open-minded about using flexibility of the exchange rate in order to absorb some of the shock. We believe that is more efficient than to have a list of the products that are barred from being imported in the country,” continued Lagarde.

The recommendation followed resistance by the Central Bank of Nigeria to devalue the currency.

Also read: IMF proposes devaluation to reverse economic woes

The Naira is weakening against major currencies in a setback linked to the dropping oil prices.

Lagarde said thirdly, it was important that the budget be completed, decided, and approved.  The budget has been dogged by new controversy after alleged distortion of the budget by some members of the National Assembly

“We stand ready to help Nigeria if it wants to seek our help. Having visited Nigeria in January, I believe that it is also really important that the country looks at diversifying its economy, because it cannot rely exclusively on commodity prices only, particularly oil, because it might very well stay low for longer.”

She expressed confidence the West African country would overcome its challenges eventually.

“Nigeria is full of energy, smart people, and can really transform some of its activities, including in the agricultural sector, where there is just too much by way of imports when there could be a lot of transformation in Nigeria and local consumption.” 

- CAJ News


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