From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The Moody’s assessment on Nigeria, which changed the Government of Nigeria’s long-term issuer rating from B3 to Caa1 and the outlook to stable on January 27, 2023, has been described as a surprise by the Federal Government.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, told State House Correspondents, Thursday that the government had presented all of the works that it has been doing in stabilizing the economy.

“I want to also say that the Moody’s report or downgrade came as a surprise to us. Because we had presented all of the works that we have been doing in stabilizing the economy.

“But they are external rating agencies that don’t have the real understanding of what has happened at the domestic environment”

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The international rating agency, Moody’s Investors Service, also downgraded nine Nigerian banks, following its downward review of Nigeria’s rating last week.

The downgraded banks include Access Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, United Bank for Africa Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Limited, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank Limited, and Sterling Bank Plc.

She however, urged Nigerians to look forward to the S&P rating due for release in a few days, adding that “ it is expected to present a better outlook for Nigeria”

Commenting on the performance of the Nigerian economy in general, Ahmed noted that the challenges being faced are not peculiar to Nigeria; adding that the entire global economy is in shock.

“The global economy is currently facing multiple shocks often described as a poly crisis. This has led to economic instability in many countries. The Russia-Ukraine War, economic slowdown in China and the impact on global supply chains among others are causing currency depreciation and balance of payment pressures in emerging markets and developing economies,” she said.