The Federal Government is not excited about calls to apply for loan facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to tackle the current economic challenges that Nigeria is facing due to the slump in global oil prices, Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, has said.
Adeosun, who said this at the ongoing Spring Meetings of the IMF/World Bank, said the nation’s economic challenges are surmountable.
Other speakers at the event included, IMF Deputy Managing Director, Mitsuhiro Furusawa and Rwanda Finance Minister, Claver Gatete.
The Minister, who was a speaker at a panel discussion on Africa titled: ‘Sub-Saharan Africa: Just a Rough Patch,’ said Nigeria is adapting to its new realities and implementing fiscal policies to steer the country back on track for stable growth with a diversified economy.
She noted that the policies and investments should enable Nigeria to show positive growth in 2017. Adeosun emphasised that what the country is passing through is surmountable, adding that the government is already applying a cocktail of measures to address the problem.
“Nigeria is not sick and even if we are, we have our own local remedy,” the Minister said, in an apparent response to a question on why the government has refused to apply for IMF loans.
Noting that the real vulnerability in the Nigerian economy is over-dependence on a single source of revenue, oil, the Minister said, “We have resolved to build resilience into the country’s economy to hedge against future oil shocks. This is because dependence on oil brings about vulnerability and laziness. So, we are doing a combination of things to diversify our economy, with revenue mobilisation to enable sufficient investment in developing the non-oil sectors.
“We have a great opportunity to reset the Nigerian economy and ensure that as we go forward, growth will be in a sustainable manner so that we won’t be vulnerable to oil price fluctuations. With a truly diversified economy we would have enabled opportunities for wealth creation that would have trickle down to every Nigerian.
“The compelling business case in Nigeria is that the fundamentals remain very strong, a teaming, young growing population, rich in resources and with a determined government to finally get it right. The great thing is that long-term investors recognise this and understand the difference between short-term and long-term issues and the case for Nigeria persuade one to plan for the longer term opportunities.”
She said the current economic crisis in the country is an opportunity to embark on economic reforms that would reposition the country, saying that IMF reiterated the need for the country to have a policy reset.
Her words, “Different from the impression of the outside world, the current situation is not all gloom for Nigeria. It is an opportunity for Nigeria to embark on economic reforms. It is difficult to have financial discipline when oil price is above $100 because oil introduces fiscal indiscipline.”
She added that the government was determined to inculcate a culture of discipline in the country as a way of building a virile economy.
Earlier, while addressing journalists on the African situation, Director, African Department, IMF, Dr. Antoinette Sayeh, said it was incumbent on Nigeria to have a policy reset to beat the current economic challenges.
“Nigeria needs to take another look at her policies. The current policy is inhibiting the progress that could be made by the country. The government needs to eliminate the foreign exchange restrictions currently in place,” she said.
She also said that the government should work towards having a coherent package to address the challenges.
“What we have currently is fiscal and monetary policies that are working at cross-purposes. That is not helpful to the economy,” she said.
Sayeh stated that the leaders should focus on governance and reduce corruption so as to unleash the growth potential of the country.