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 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 work that it has been doing in stabilizing the economy.

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

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

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 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.”