IMF okays FG’s economic plan, forecasts 0.8% growth
• Govt extends tenure of 2016 budget capital elements to May 5
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given Nigeria’s economic recovery plan a pass mark, commending efforts made by government to reduce vulnerabilities and enhance resilience.
The Fund however, advised the Federal Government to lift remaining foreign exchange restrictions and scrap the multiple exchange rates system.The fund also forecast that the economy would grow 0.8 percent this year. The outlook came in the Washington-based fund’s Article IV consultation, which is a regular assessment of a country’s economy.
While recognising that the Nigerian economy has been negatively impacted by low oil prices and production, it noted that the management strategy, like increasing fuel prices, raising the monetary policy rate, and allowing the exchange rate to depreciate was in line.
According to the IMF, the country’s external current account, which turned into a surplus in 2016, was a result of import compression that has continued to offset falling exports, rather than expanding trade.
The recent Federal Government’s economic blueprint: Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), drew the attention of the multilateral institution even as it reiterated that without stronger policies the objectives may not be achieved.
IMF said priority should be given to increasing non-oil revenue- raising Value Added Tax and excise rates, strengthening compliance, and closing loopholes and exemptions.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria has unveiled plans to offer licensed Bureau De Change operators foreign exchange twice weekly, with effect from Monday.
Accordingly, BDC operators are required to fund their accounts with the CBN on Mondays and Wednesdays preceding delivery day of Tuesdays and Thursdays.The amount to each BDC has been increased to $10, 000 weekly from $8, 000.
By this development, BDC operators would now heave a sigh of relief following sharp appreciation of the Naira against major foreign currencies as a result of which speculators have been counting their losses.
In another development, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Idris Ahmed has issued a circular extending the tenure of the capital elements of the 2016 budget until May 5, 2017 or the passage of the 2017 budget, whichever is the earliest.
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