FG reacts to concerns of World Bank, IMF, others over major economic threats
For many years now including the mid-year economic growth projections, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, have consistently presented growth rates below Nigeria’s official figures, and the IMF’s director in charge of Africa, Mr Abebe Selassie, said the Bretton Woods Institution’s figures are always more current than Nigeria’s.
There have been such discrepancies twice this year alone when the Federal Government had put its growth projection at 3.5 percent in the 2018 budget, but the IMF projected 2.5 percent. Later in the first quarter of the year IMF reviewed its projection downward to 2.1 percent.
The Federal Government later effected a cut on its projection down to the IMF’s level of 2.1 percent, only for IMF to return at its just concluded annual Meetings in Indonesia to drop the projection further to 1.9 percent.
Speaking to Financial Vanguard on the sidelines of the Meetings, Selassie said the consistent discrepancies could be attributed to the gap in updating as the World Bank and IMF appears to be more current than Nigerian authorities.
His words: “I think it is a matter of updating. We are always on the watch to update our projections following developments in the economy we watch. We are always current”.
When reminded that Nigeria also updates just like in the 2018 projection, Selassie said that IMF’s update may be faster than Nigeria’s. But he also added that in the latest updates by the two entities the difference is not much.
The latest update by IMF is 0.2 percentage point below Federal Government’s projection. But the 2019 projections of IMF at 2.3 percent is still widely below Federal Government’s figure of 3.01 percent, which was also a downward review from 4.5 percent contained in its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) document.
Meanwhile the Federal Government has presented some responses to the various concerns raised by the World Bank and IMF as well as other economy watchers both local and international.
The government’s team to the World Bank Meetings led by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, which includes the Minister of National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udoma, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, indicated that more concerns were raised in many other bilateral meetings over the future of Nigerian economy.
The concerns, according to them, ranged from the impact of political tension on the economy governance to management of fiscal and monetary policy disalignments.
The details of their responses were also reflected in the responses the gave to the questions from the media during the closing media session of the Meetings.
The highlights are as presented here.