Daily Trust

IMF wants urgent confirmation of CBN directors by the senate

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged for urgent confirmation of the appointments of the Nigeria central bank’s board of directors and members of the monetary policy committee to avoid unwarranted consequences.

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This was part of the recommendations of the board at the conclusion of  its 2018, Article IV consultation  with Nigeria,  otherwise known as country surveillance.

The board further commended the recent foreign exchange measures and recent efforts to strengthen external buffers to mitigate risks from capital flow reversals.

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They welcomed the authorities’ commitment to unify the exchange rate and urged additional actions to remove remaining restrictions and multiple exchange rate practices.

They also emphasized that structural reform implementation should continue to lay the foundation for a diversified private‑sector‑led economy.

They noted that, building on recent improvements in the business environment, implementing the power sector recovery plan, investing in infrastructure, accelerating efforts to strengthen anti‑corruption and transparency initiatives, and updating and implementing the financial inclusion and gender strategies remain essential.

Directors welcomed the continued improvement in the quality and availability of economic statistics and encouraged further efforts to address remaining gaps.

According to the country staff appraisal, the Nigerian economy is exiting recession but remains vulnerable. New foreign exchange measures, rising oil prices, attractive yields on government securities, and a tighter monetary policy have contributed to better foreign exchange availability, increased reserves to a four-year high, and contained inflationary pressures.

It added that, reforms under the government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan have resulted in significant strides in strengthening the business environment and steps to improve governance.

It noted  However, that all these factors have not yet boosted non-oil non-agricultural activity, brought inflation close to the target range, contained banking sector vulnerabilities, or reduced unemployment. A higher fiscal deficit driven by weak revenue mobilization amidst still tight domestic financing conditions has raised bond yields, and crowded out private sector credit.

It also stated that Higher oil prices are supporting the near-term projections, but medium-term projections indicate that growth would remain relatively flat, with continuing declines in per capita real GDP under unchanged policies.