…As IMF calls for strengthening fiscal buffers


From Uche Usim, Washington DC 

Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, on Thursday, described Nigeria as a super investment haven, asking global investors to take advantage of the reformatory policies being administered by the President Bola Tinubu administration to enjoy good returns on investment.

He listed agriculture,  especially with the nation’s massive arable land, large market and the growing youth population as potent incentives any investor could tap into. He also identified oil and gas, infrastructure, especially roads, rails and housing and the services sectors.

Edun stated these at the ongoing Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in  Washington DC. 

According to the Minister, the policies of the incumbent are strategically designed to tow Nigerians out of multi-dimensional poverty to prosperity, boost productivity, tackle unemployment and guarantee ease of doing business for both domestic investors, Nigerians in the Diaspora and internal investors across all sectors.

Edun, who described the reforms as “bold, courageous and strategic”, pointed out that the Nigerian economy under  president Tinubu has manifested appreciable signs of impressive growth, a development that trudged the IMF and World Bank to raise their growth projections.

“The Economic Team of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is here to showcase the progress so far made of his bold, courageous and strategic reforms for the Nigerian economy in order to get it stabilised so as to attract foreign investment, create jobs for our people, reduce poverty and enhance our economic growth and development in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration.

“We have all seen what has happened in terms of stabilising the exchange rate and inflation, which is now heading in the right direction.

“If you look closely at the numbers that came out especially from Monday, you will see that there is a slowing of the rate of increase of food inflation, things are moving in the right direction, government revenues are up, even oil revenues are up but not as much as we will like. But I assure you that with our resilience, we will get there.”

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While targeting a mix of investors,  the Minister, who led the Nigerian delegation to the Spring Meetings assured that foreign investments into the country would  provide opportunities for job creation and poverty reduction.

The Minister added that the economy was  in moving in the right direction as the policies put in place by the present administration had brought a significant stability of the nation’s exchange rate.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, has called on member countries to restart building fiscal buffers to deal with a projected global-below-projection growth. 

She spoke at a press briefing at the ongoing Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington DC,  yesterday. 

According to her, “Global economy has shown remarkable resilience, and appears headed for a soft landing. But buffers have been eroded, growth prospects are lackluster, and vulnerable countries are at risk of falling further behind. 

“While inflation has fallen, it remains above target in many countries. Against this background, the key policy priorities are to: (i) rebuild buffers; (ii) revive medium-term growth; and (iii) renew the IMF’s commitment to ensure that our policies, lending toolkit, and governance are fit for purpose. “

The MD also tasked central banks to “ finish the job on inflation, carefully managing its descent to target.”

Central banks across the globe have been largely raising interest rates, in attempt to fight inflation. 

Ms. Georgieva said, “With a soft landing in sight, policymakers’ focus needs to shift to fiscal consolidation to safeguard public finances. Reviving growth prospects will require accelerating structural reforms and joint efforts by countries to tackle transformational challenges.

“ Firmly grounded in its mandate, working with its members, and in partnership with other international organizations, the IMF will continue to serve its members with policy advice, financial lifelines, and capacity development to help safeguard their economic and financial stability, a foundation for inclusive and sustainable growth.”

On the crisis in parts of the world the MD said that the Israel-Gaza War had overshadowed terrible suffering and pain in Sudan, Yemen  and other such nations.