MARRAKECH: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lauded the Central Bank of Nigeria’s recent move to lift foreign exchange restrictions on 43 previously embargoed items. This decision marks a pivotal shift towards bolstering the Nigerian economy and its global trade relations.
While speaking at the ongoing joint meetings of the World Bank and the IMF, Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director of the African Department at the IMF, unveiled the institution’s endorsement of Nigeria’s forex policy change. This pivotal decision was announced during a media briefing on the Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa.
In his discourse, Selassie emphasized the complexity and sophistication of Nigeria’s economy, stating that restrictive trade measures may not be effective. He advocated for the utilization of fiscal and monetary policy levers for a more balanced and progressive economic management.
Addressing THISDAY’s query regarding Nigeria’s debt sustainability, Selassie confirmed that there weren’t ongoing discussions about debt restructuring with the IMF. Highlighting the core issue, he pinpointed the government’s inadequate tax revenue generation, resulting in limited funds for essential services. The IMF director underscored the detrimental effects of over-reliance on oil and subsidies, both of which have siphoned critical governmental resources.
While acknowledging Nigeria’s “incredible potential,” Selassie observed positive reform directions in recent times. He urged a holistic approach to reforms, encouraging synergy between monetary and fiscal policies. He emphasized the need for patience, considering the recent appointments of the CBN governor and the finance minister.
Ajay Banga, the World Bank President, commended Nigerian entrepreneurs’ spirit during his speech. Celebrating their aspiration to advance societal growth, he said, “I have felt that yearning among entrepreneurs in Nigeria.”
Banga expounded on global challenges, emphasizing the World Bank’s revamped vision. He remarked, “To create a world free of poverty – on a liveable planet.” Moreover, he shed light on the economic stagnation in Sub-Saharan Africa and the rising debts hampering emerging markets.
Banga’s poignant remarks were a clarion call for collective action. Recognizing the disparity between the Global North and South, he stressed the need for a world where climate, health, and poverty challenges are addressed holistically.
With Nigeria at a pivotal juncture, the world watches closely. The endorsements from major institutions like the IMF and the World Bank bolster optimism for the nation’s economic trajectory.