24 February 2016, Lagos – The International Monetary Fund, IMF, yesterday, said it was supportive of the Federal Government’s ongoing efforts at promoting targeted and core infrastructure in power, integrated transport network, housing; reduce business environment costs through greater transparency and accountability, and promote employment of youths and female populations.
It also said that “adopting a sound Petroleum Industry Bill, applying the anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism framework, will help to strengthen the Nigeria regulatory framework for the oil sector.”
It also said government 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.
The IMF team that visited Nigeria in January 2016 in a statement released, yesterday, in Washington said: “In the light of the significant macroeconomic adjustment that is needed to address the permanent terms-of-trade shock, it will be important for Nigeria to put in place an integrated package of policies centred around: fiscal discipline; reducing external imbalances; further improving efficiency of the banking sector; and fostering strong implementation of structural reforms that will enhance.”
The team led by Gene Leon, said itsdiscussions with government were focused on assessing the economic impact of the sharp decline in oil prices and policies for addressing near-term vulnerabilities, as well as structural reforms to promote sustained inclusive growth and reduce poverty.
According to the statement signed by Mr. Leon, Nigeria’s economic “growth is projected to improve slightly to 3.2 per cent in 2016 but could rebound to 4.9 per cent in 2017, supported by an appropriate policy package that would, for example, enable priority infrastructure investments.
“The general government deficit is projected to widen somewhat before improving in 2017, while the external current account deficit is likely to remain flat at 2.3 percent of GDP. Growth in credit to the private sector is projected to recover from the slump in 2015, aiding the increase in activity.
“Key risks to the outlook include lower-than-budgeted oil prices, shortfalls in non-oil revenues, a further deterioration in finances of state and local governments, and a resurgence in security concerns.
“Establishing medium-term fiscal policy goals that support fiscal sustainability is a priority. In particular, measures should be implemented to boost the ratio of non-oil revenue to GDP, including from improvements in revenue administration and broadening of the tax base; rationalize spending; adopt safety nets for the most vulnerable; and foster enhanced accountability and an orderly adjustment of sub-national budgets.”