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Ramp up your reforms, avoid hurting your lacklustre economy—IMF tells Nigeria

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Okey Onyenweaku, Washington D.C, USA

The International Monetary funds (IMF) yesterday urged Nigeria to ramp up its infrastructural reforms and other reforms in the areas of non oil sector to enable it ignite significant growth in its economy and reverse its lackluster disposition.

A team of speakers from the organization, said this during the World Economic Outlook (WEO)briefing at the on-going IMF Annual Meetings in Washington D.C, United States of America, USA.

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Gita Gopinath, Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department, IMF, who is leading the team advised Nigeria to explore and put more emphasis on the non-oil sector of the economy to change its ranking from having one the lowest revenue rates in the world.

According to her, ‘’in the case of Nigeria, a lot depends upon oil prices prospects. And there has been some weakness coming from that. The important thing to keep in mind about Nigeria is that per capita growth remains weak. And this is why we call for structural reforms’’.

The economic counsellor also advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to pursue measures that would help to unify the exchange rates system to enable it attract more FDI to the country.

Also speaking at the event, Chief of the World Economics Studies Division of the IMF Research Department, Mrs. Oya Celasun, said even though the Monetary Fund reviewed upward Nigeria’s growth projections for this year as a result of strong agricultural production, she noted that it was not enough to lift the per capita growth into positive tertiary.

‘’For some time, we have been emphasizing on a comprehensive package to lift growth. On the element of that, it would have to be stronger non-oil revenue mobilization as Nigeria has one the lowest ‘’

‘’Other areas are the need for tight monetary policy and simpler unified exchange rate system. Foreign exchange restrictions have also been distorting public and private sector decisions and holding back investments. Generally banking system remains strong and should continue with stronger structural reforms especially the infrastructure in power sector on the part of the government would remain critical’’said Celasun

The IMF in fact, revised its world economic growth projections downward by 0.2 per cent saying that the world economy was experiencing a synchronized slow down. The fund attributed the growth to the sharp deterioration in manufacturing and global trade, with high tariff and prolonged trade policy uncertainty damaging investment and demand for capital goods.

The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook foresees a slight rebound in 2020 but warns of threats ranging from heightened political tensions in the Middle East to the threat that the United States and China will fail to prevent their trade war from escalating.

The new forecast predicts global growth of 3% this year, down 0.2 percentage point from its previous forecast in July and sharply below the 3.6% growth of 2018. For the United States this year, the IMF projects a modest 2.4% gain, down from 2.9% in 2018.

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